Saturday, October 11, 2008

Burials after blast at anti-Taliban Meeting in Pakistan

AP: Dozens of slain anti-Taliban tribesmen mourned
Reuters: Pakistan tribes raze Taliban houses after bombing
Dawn: Bomber mows down 50 in attack on jirga
LA Times: Pakistan suicide bomber strikes anti-Taliban tribal elders
NY Times: Bomber Strikes Anti-Taliban Meeting, Killing More Than 40

Comments from a previous IS post on the role of of tribal elders in the peace efforts:

"The role of the tribal elders is another important factor. Unfortunately, in the past, those among the tribal elders who could have ensured peace in the area were systematically targeted by the criminal elements. At least 300 tribal elders have been killed in different areas of the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA) in these years. The elimination of this layer of leadership is one of the key reasons why there are insurgent militias ruling over FATA these days.

Some of these militias are Taliban-inspired, others are not and may in some cases be against the Taliban. Often they are locally based. But sometimes they also have foreign connections and membership too. In some cases, the local people have supported these insurgent militias against the tyranny of local leaders, state officials, and 'maliks', or against their rival tribes. More recently the American and Pakistani military incursions and the resulting loss of lives, property, and honor have also expanded the membership and support of these militias.

Some strands of these insurgent militias also had support of the state's security apparatus in the past, particularly during the Afghan War era. Some claim that they still do."

Thoughts on tribal cooperation with the government, from a previous IS post:

"The report also talks about the promise of cooperation by the local tribes for the military operations against the Taliban. However, exactly what kind of financial and territorial promises the establishment has made in return, we don't know. Local development of infrastructure might be part of it, but the most important thing for the locals is their territorial sovereignty. They don't like 'outsiders' on their soil - whether foreign militias or Pakistani forces. The territorial state boundaries are seen as arbitrary and fictitious. The Pashtun bonds are more real, and as one tribal elder is quoted in the report, the Durand Line cannot divide the Pashtun people living on both sides of the border. An important questions here is that would the tribes fight against the local, Pashtun insurgents, who are unhappy with military's incursions into their lands, and, to many locals, reacting for just reasons? How durable is this cooperation, it's difficult to say anything conclusively."

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