September 6, 2006


Border deal threatens to close trap on Taleban (Tim Albone in Kabul and Richard Beeston, 9/06/06, Times of London)

THE leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan will attempt today to bury their differences and agree a joint strategy to combat Islamic militants operating on both sides of their border.

As Nato forces fought an estimated 700 Taleban rebels in southern Afghanistan, President Musharraf prepared to make his first visit to Kabul for nearly two years, where he hopes to repair relations with President Karzai.

“We hope it will be a major, positive step for relations between the two countries and for co-operation in fighting terrorism,” a spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry said.

Kabul and Islamabad have been blaming each other for allowing Islamic militants to cross the 1,500-mile (2,400km) frontier and attack security forces. Yesterday Pakistan took a big step towards ending the fighting in the lawless Waziristan region when it signed a peace deal with tribal leaders. The agreement commits local militants to halt attacks on both sides of the border.

In return Pakistan will reduce its military presence and compensate tribesmen whose relatives have been killed or whose properties have been damaged.

A key provision of the deal is that tribesmen will expel foreign fighters from the area. The region is believed to be a haven for al-Qaeda fighters and members of the former Taleban regime in Afghanistan. Without a base in Pakistan their operations could be seriously disrupted.

In a world where terrorists want to strike at people who have nothing to do with their little spats and want to maximize casualties when they do so, geographical areas where no sovereign state exercises authority have to be considered fair game for any kind of attacks we choose to launch.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 6, 2006 8:24 AM

Sounds good on paper. As always whether it is enforced or not will be the test.

Posted by: AWW at September 6, 2006 8:45 AM