In Waziristan, the Pakistani army’s double game continues
Abdullah Mahsud, a Guantanamo Bay alumnus, is the new ‘most wanted’ al-Qaeda linked terrorist in Pakistan — implicated in many outrages in Waziristan, including the kidnapping and killing of Chinese engineers. The Pakistani army would have the world believe that there is a ‘dead or alive’ manhunt out for Mahsud, justifying a massive military operation that is already Pakistan’s very own Fallujah. But Mahsud’s ungentlemanly indiscretion reveals a very different story.
Abdullah Mahsud, the most wanted militantsâ€™ commander in South Waziristan, called several journalists in Wana, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and Islamabad on Tuesday and gave a statement claiming he had met Corps Commander Lt Gen Safdar Hussain in the Jandola Fort on November 6.
He used his mobile phone to call The News and other newspaper organisations and reporters working for the national and international media. He also granted an interview on phone to the BBC. This interview was broadcast by the BBC Urdu service Tuesday night.
Corps Commander Lt Gen Safdar Hussain had denied reports about the meeting. He had claimed that no such meeting took place.
According to Abdullah Mahsud, his brother-in-law Col (retd) Yaqub Mahsud arranged his meeting with the Corps Commander. He said the meeting last around four hours and was held under tight security in the Frontier Corps Fort in Jandola. “The Corps Commander offered to come to my village, Nano, for the meeting. But I said I would come to Jandola and meet him. My mujahideen colleagues advised me not to take the risk but I insisted on driving to Jandola along with my bodyguards in two vehicles for the meeting,” he recalled.[The News/Jang]
Yes, it is the same Gen Safdar Hussain, as one may recall, who is pictured here garlanding another al-Qaeda linked terrorist – Nek Mohammad.
The Pakistani army is playing a dangerous double game here — the conflict in Waziristan is no more a hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists as is being made out to the international media. Enraged at being made scapegoats in the war on terror, there is a popular backlash against Musharraf and his army. This is ultimately counterproductive for the United States’ war against al-Qaeda — because the tribesmen may end up supporting al-Qaeda just because it is opposed to the Pakistani army. Bin Laden’s latest album intends to exploit this disaffection to his advantage.