The Pakistani army retreats from Waziristan. Advantage Taliban 2.0
Unlike Afghanistan and the United States, the Pakistani army is not terribly concerned about the presence of Taliban militants in North Waziristan and their cross-border movement into Afghanistan. It was, however, concerned about getting bogged down fighting a losing war with everyone from outraged tribesmen to determined jihadis in Pakistan’s never subdued frontier areas. The Pakistani army did not go in there on its own volition (unlike in Balochistan), but rather, did so after coming under pressure from the United States to do ‘more’ to prevent Taliban militants from crossing over into Afghanistan.
Since the ‘offensive’ against the Taliban in Waziristan didn’t do much to weaken the Taliban infiltration into Afghanistan or to even get clues to bin Laden’s whereabouts there was nothing much for the Pakistani army to do but to kiss and make up. Just like it did two years ago in South Waziristan. The terms of the accord between the Taliban shura and the Pakistani army are simple: the army accepts the Taliban’s word that there will be no cross-border movement and goes back to its camps.
Afghanistan and the United States are out in the cold as far as their concerns over Taliban infiltration is concerned. But Pakistan has lost something too. While officials can go about claiming that the ‘writ of the state’ has been established, it is clear that the old tribal order has been replaced by a new Taliban one. That includes bands of militants patrolling ‘the streets of Miramshah and vigilantes in groups of five and six continue to police the area, seizing people, levying punishments and administering justice’. Gen Musharraf, however, will hardly be bothered by this, for imposing the ‘writ of the state’ in his book is simply eliminating direct threats to his rule.