CIA director Leon Panetta said Wednesday that US strikes against targets in northern Pakistan have left al-Qaeda in disarray and without the command and control necessary to plan and carry out major operations.
The US is claiming a big success in a precision strike on the town of Miranshah in North Waziristan, saying that it killed Husain Yemeni. Yemeni is said to be a liaison between al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Arabs holed up in North Waziristan, north Pakistan. He is also said to have been involved in the bombing of a CIA forward base in Afghanistan in late December, which killed several CIA operatives along with some contractors.
The News reports that: since 9/11 (102 months), Pakistan has suffered a major terrorist bombing roughly once every 10 days. Over these years, there were 332 ‘terrorism-related incidents,’ which killed 5,704 persons (substantially more than died in the September 11 attacks). By city, terrorist bombings clustered this way:
Peshawar: 58 terrorist incidents
Swat Valley: 21
In the troubled Northwest of the country, the Taliban of Miranshah in North Waziristan on Wednesday affirmed their commitment to an ongoing truce with the government. The truce is observed by Pakistan as it campaigns in South Waziristan, so as to be able to concentrate on one tribal area at a time. The truce is shaky, and was annulled last summer briefly by the Taliban.
Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus cautioned Pakistan that another terrorist attack on India such as Lashkar-e Tayyiba carried out on Mumbai could spark severe conflict in South Asia. Radicalism in Punjab of the Lashkar sort is an increasing concern among Pakistanis, as this Dawn editorial shows.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s two big rival parties, the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PMLN), have been roiled over comments earlier this week by Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab Province, who said that Taliban should not hit the Punjab, since Punjabis had been more or less on the same page in their opposition to military dictator Pervez Musharraf. On Wednesday, the Taliban showed interest in a truce with Sharif. The Pakistani public is outraged at the remarks, seen as cowardly and/or collaborationist.
Female member of parliament Nighat Orakzai (PML-Q) taunted Sharif that if he is so afraid of the Taliban, he can borrow her neck scarf (dupatta), which many Pakistani women wear on their shoulders instead of covering their faces. She dropped hers on the floor of Parliament.
End/ (Not Continued)