2003 January 20 Monday
Al Qaeda Fighters Taking Over Pakistani Villages

Christian Science Monitor staff writer Scott Baldauf has written an interesting story on Al Qaeda fighters living in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province.

NAWA PASS, AFGHAN-PAKISTAN BORDER Locals call Sabila "the lonely village."

"There are no children, no women, no relatives to celebrate Eid [the Islamic feast day] with," says Mohammad Nasser, a shopkeeper from Asadabad, Afghanistan, who has visited Sabila.

The village, just 10 miles across the border in Pakistan, is a collection of high-walled adobe compounds that house a brigade of 300 Al Qaeda fighters who are preparing to attack the Kabul government and US forces, say local Afghans and Afghan intelligence sources.

The article reports that representatives of the Northwest Frontier Province government (which is dominated by Islamists) come to visit the Al Qaeda fighters and that Pakistani border guards help them.

In light of the continuous reports of the welcome that Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are receiving in Pakistan consider the Pakistani government's vigorous protests against the requirement to fingerprint all Pakistani males over the age of 16 who want to visit the United States.

Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the Pakistani minister, said the decision to place his country on a list of nations whose male citizens must be fingerprinted, photographed, interviewed and registered was blatantly unfair in light of Pakistan's crucial role in combating Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

"Our effort is to get Pakistan out of the list," Mr. Kasuri said in a television interview before he was to fly to the United States today. He will attend a one-day meeting of foreign ministers from the 15 nations on the Security Council at the United Nations in New York on Monday before visiting Washington for talks with American officials.

If the Pakistani federal government is to be taken at its word that it is united in its desire to stop Al Qaeda from using Pakistan as a base of operations then one has to conclude that the federal level of government is not strong enough to control its own country well enough to prevent whole villages from being taken over by Al Qaeda. Of course alternative explanations are equally plausible. Its quite possible that Musharraf has only partial control of the federal government and that ISI and military officers and various civilian departments are pursuing conflicting interests with some in collusion with assorted terrorist groups including Al Qaeda.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 January 20 05:04 PM  Civilizations Clash Of


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