Thursday, February 15, 2007

Eikenberry outlines the Pakistani peace agreement

I was wondering what General Eikenberry meant when he warned of the growing threat of Talibanization inside Pakistan. Here are his comments on the agreement between Pakistan and the Waziri tribes, where he basically defines the term:
September 2006

Q General, General Abizaid this week said he was skeptical about a peace agreement that was reached by the Pakistani central government and the tribes in that semi-autonomous border area. Are you also skeptical? And how are you going to deal with the problem of Pakistan, of a safe haven for this larger, better organized Taliban challenge?

GEN. EIKENBERRY: First of all, a little bit about the agreement. The agreement, I think everyone knows, is in north Waziristan, a particular agency within the Federally Administered Tribal Agency of Pakistan. It sits against the Afghanistan border in southeastern Afghanistan.

The agreement itself -- the principles, the tenets of the agreement are very good.

So the tenets of the agreement -- the first, no Talibanization of the area. Broadly speaking, then, that means that there will not be an active campaign to expand extremism within the area -- very critical, because it's the ideology, at the end of the day, which has to be defeated.

Militarily, very important, as I looked at the agreement myself, is that firmly against supporting or allowing cross-border attacks by militants into Afghanistan -- very importantly, proscribes foreign fighters from having sanctuary within north Waziristan.

Then the last piece, ... this does not represent a removal or a relocation of Pakistan military army forces, from north Waziristan; they remain in north Waziristan. And I've been told by my Pakistani military counterparts, the intention is, then, with that capability, where they're now not present in setting up roadblocks and checkpoints, which are being turned over to the Pakistani police in the interior of north Waziristan, a relocation of those military forces to the border of Afghanistan, and then using that additional capability for quick reaction forces.

So that's the agreement. The tenets and the principles of the agreement are very sound. And now we have to wait and watch for the implementation.
Based on his comments, below: the plan has been a failure from the U.S. perspective. The Taliban have acheived a safe haven in Waziristan. They're recruiting and staging attacks on Afghanistan from within that safe haven. The peace deal with Pakistani forces has allowed them to triple cross border attacks and more are expected during a Taliban offensive this spring.

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