Kommentar

Det er et område av verden som ligger fjernt fra Norge, men noe sier meg at det som skjer i Nord- og Sør-Waziristan, har stor betydning. Taliban og Al Qaida har inngått allianser med de lokale stammene, og fører krig både mot Kabul og Islamabad. Målet er å styrte begge regimer.

Det som er mindre kjent er den sosiale og politiske revolusjonen i disse områdene, som har snudd opp ned på maktforholdene. Taliban og Al Qaida har her fått en hær av sterkt troende, lokale unge, og det er disse som nå bestemmer. Hvis artikkelen fra Asia Times online er sannferdig, vil vi få høre mer fra disse områdene. Det burde ikke minst interessere alle land med soldater i Afghanistan.

Eksplosivt

Forandringen begynte med en ny valgordning. Tidligere var det lokale jirgas, stammeråd, som utpekte kandidater til nasjonalforsamlingen. De lokale sheikene fikk således stor makt og rikdom. Men en ny valgordning avskaffet dette systemet, og innførte direkte valg. Dermed kunne den fattigste innbygger gjøre karriere og bli leder. Det skjedde i 2002, rett etter Talibans fall og flukt til disse grenseområdene. Taliban og Al Qaida brakte med seg sin ekstreme jihadist-ideologi, og kombinasjonen av denne og den politiske revolusjonen var eksplosiv. Det er den som utspiller seg daglig:

MIRAN SHAH, Pakistan – Suspected Islamic militants ambushed a convoy of security forces in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, setting off a shootout that left at least seven militants and one security official dead, officials said.

The gunbattle happened near Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal region, on a road heading to the town of Razmak, a local security official said.

The attack came hours after gunmen shot to death two tribal policemen in a bazaar in Miran Shah. Local officials blamed pro-Taliban militants who have stepped up attacks on security forces in this volatile region.(AP)

Det som gjør inntrykk på Asia Times-journalisten er at de tre dominerende stammene i Waziristan har endret karakter. De har begravd stridsøksen og kjemper nå sammen med Taliban og Al Qaida, mot Kabul-regjeringen og Islamabad.

Revolusjon

The seeds of the revolution were sown by former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif in the late 1990s, who introduced electoral colleges in the tribal areas based on adult franchise. Previously, the tribal areas had representation in both the upper and lower houses of parliament, but the delegates were chosen by the jirga (tribal council) system.

In terms of this, a few tribal chiefs sat together and chose representatives from their ranks. As a result, the tribal chiefs held all the political clout, and they grew rich and powerful.

The electoral system broke this supremacy, and in the most recent general election, in 2002, the power and base of the tribal chiefs were destroyed. For the first time, downtrodden clerics, many of whom owned no more than an old bicycle or a mud house, were elected as members of the Senate and the National Assembly.

This coincided with the re-emergence of the Taliban, driven out of Afghanistan in 2001, and in effect the centuries-old tribal order was no more. Youngsters in their teens and early 20s became the new «chiefs», and even took over the jirgas. More than 100 tribal chiefs were killed; the remainder either fled to the cities or began a new life under the rule of poverty-stricken but highly religiously motivated youths.

Stammene

Three major tribes live in North Waziristan, which has become the Taliban’s prime stronghold outside of Afghanistan: the Wazirs, the Mehsuds and the Dawar.

British soldiers referred to the Wazirs as wolves, and the Mehsuds as panthers of the mountains. The Dawar have traditionally been peace-loving, preferring shopkeeping to guns and towns over mountains.

The Mehsud and Wazir tribes, though, have been arch-rivals for centuries. Traditionally, the Mehsuds have been part of the Pakistani establishment, and as recently as the past few years they supported the military’s actions against Wazir tribes, who are mostly Taliban.

In today’s North Waziristan, though, Maulana Sadiq Noor and Maulana Abdul Khaliq are the unbending leaders of the Taliban-led resistance. They are both Dawar and, even more startling, the Wazirs and the Mehsuds are under their command. The man in charge of launching mujahideen raids into Afghanistan is Maulana Sangeen, an Afghan from neighboring Khost province.

In South Waziristan, Haji Omar, a Wazir, is the leader of the resistance against Pakistani forces, while Afghan operations run from the area are taken care of by Abdullah Mehsud, of the Mehsud tribe.

«Nobody has seen such an arrangement in centuries, where the Mehsuds and Wazirs are fighting side-by-side, and more, under the command of the Dawars,» said a local bureaucrat in Waziristan who spoke to Asia Times Online on the condition of anonymity.

Command and control system
The revolution that is sweeping across Waziristan is not confined to the region. It is on the march, with the eventual targets being Kabul and Islamabad.

Al Qaida-Zawahiri

The overall command center is in South Waziristan, where al-Qaeda No 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri calls the shots, while Tahir Yaldevish, leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and a key figure in the Afghan resistance, moves around Paktika province in Afghanistan.

Well-placed sources in the Taliban movement who spoke to Asia Times Online claim that the Taliban communicated «final messages» to Afghan and Pakistani officials, warning of direct attacks across both countries against top army and civilian officials. As a result, according to the sources, Pakistan stopped military operations in North and South Waziristan that were aimed at rooting out Taliban and foreign forces.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban strategy is to terrorize Afghan officials and prevent them from cooperating with foreign forces. And once the allied forces are alienated, attacks on them will be intensified.

Revolution in the Pakistani mountains
By Syed Saleem Shahzad