Meddling with the Pashtuns

Once again, the Pashtuns have defeated the designs of a conquering army. The Pakistan army was to have been the “anvil” squeezing Al Qaeda and its supporters between itself and the “hammer” of the US forces in Afghanistan.

Instead, the Pakistan army found itself staring in the face of a military and political disaster. No major Al Qaeda leader was captured. The Pashtun tribesmen refused to surrender to the terms laid down by the Pakistan army. Only a face-saving intervention by the elected local members of parliament and ‘tribal elders’ helped avoid a more damaging outcome for the Pakistani army: the five tribesmen surrendered in return for an amnesty not just for themselves, but also for 50 other previously arrested tribesmen.

I’ve picked some articles to add a deeper context to my post on the recent ‘surrender’.

Rahul Bedi writes about the motives behind Musharraf’s march to the frontier mine-fields in this fortnight’s Frontline. Aslam Effendi, a descendent of the first Afghan King, predicts that like other foreign armies the US army to will be defeated by the Pashtuns and their mountains. This operation has created bad blood has been created between Pakistan and the United States, says the Daily Times, and is likely to haunt future operations against Al Qaeda.

Jan Mohammad Khan’s site and Asinah are very good resources on the Pashtun history, culture and society.