80 Killed in Bombing, Military Strikes in Pakistan

On Saturday, a suicide bomber targeted a food aid center in Khar in Bajaur, one of Pakistan’s northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas, killing 43 and wounding 100.

The development has implications for US troops in Afghanistan, since Bajaur abuts the strategic and troubled Kunar Province in Afghanistan and Taliban based there and in Mohmand raid over into Kunar, attacking US troops. Here is a report of a US/ Taliban military engagement in Kunar late last month.

Northwest Pakistan

Map of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan

A suicide bomber wearing a burqa or female covering struck at the World Food Program’s aid distribution center in Khar in Bajaur. There is a controversy over whether the bomber was a man or a woman. The target was members of the Salarzai tribe in Bajaur, who had formed a tribal levy to fight the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Movement of Taliban), a group mainly based in South Waziristan among members of the Mahsoud tribe. The Mahsoud had raided north and had made converts and allies, allowing them to control parts of Bajaur such as Khar, from which they have been more recently been excluded by the Salarzai.

CNN has a video report:

On Friday, a force of 150 militants in Mohmand Agency (just south of Bajaur), had targeted 5 checkpoints of the Frontier Corps, a Pakistani government paramilitary unit, killing 11 troops in the Safi and Baizai districts. Some 24 of the rebels were killed in a riposte by government sources. This attack also came in revenge for the Taliban having been expelled from those areas of Mohmand Agency.

On Saturday, Pakistani troops using helicopter gunships came back after the insurgents, allegedly killing 40 of them in Baizai and Lakro villages.

Reports earlier this month suggested that some 200-300 of the fighters expelled from the Swat Valley by the Pakistani military in summer, 2009, have regrouped in Mohmand under the leadership of Qari Abdul Jabbar of Timergara in Lower Dir, a young rebel commanders. Until recently, another small force of Taliban, under the leadership of Umar “Abdul Wali” Khalid, had been the chief threat to order in Mohmand.

2 Responses

  1. Can one ask what “chief threat to order” means, in this context? What “order?”

    What’s described here, seems to me, is what humans have done since “civilization” appeared, nominally in the Fertile Crescent if I remember right. Tigris and Euphrates. (How quaint that “Shock&Awe” should follow the elevation, in major part via the machinations of our CIA and “policy people,” of one Saddam Hussein, right there in the middle of the former Fertile Crescent.)

    “Civilization,” if I have this right, consists of people figuring out how to breed up grains that can be planted and watered to produce not only enough for the daily bread, but a surplus that can be planted on larger fields next year, and stored behind walls against the needs and greeds of less inventive humans, and to support a ruling class and various kinds of artisans and parasites. Requiring the kinds of organizations that settled agriculture and increasing population and the insatiable appetites for milk and honey demand, over and above the skills needed to hunt and gather or nomadically herd. Like bureaucracy, record-keeping, and all kinds of division of labor. And skills at building and maintaining walls and granaries. And then, once you got a concentration of stealable wealth, lots of dedicated warriors with armor and arms, both to protect your surplus and go knock down others’ walls and steal their stuff and put them to the sword.” And a priestly class, to add divine sanctions to the duty of the slaves to work the qanats and fields in anticipation of the seasons, and the Natural Ascendancy of the Aristocratic Hierarchy.

    And so it’s not so long, in areas where the available resources are slim and a quirk or three of the development of politics and mores gives you the Pashtun and other tribal approaches to Honor and the Social Order, before you get the kind of endemic misery and pride- and the-pleasure-of-violence-driven tit for tat and slippery loyalties that lie beneath the surface reporting of this post.

    May I recommend, once again, a wonderfully inadvertent book, somehow released for publication by the CIA, by Gary Schroen, CIA field guy? The so ironically titled “First In: An Insider’s Account Of How The CIA Spearheaded The War On Terror In Afghanistan.” There is so much wrong with even the title, but once you get into the blandness and banality of the evil inside the covers, any observer not blinded by American tribalism will get a wonderful pastiche of the reality of the human animal in something very close to its native state. In his own words: link to msnbc.msn.com

    Too bad the book ends before the latest chapters in this we-do-it-because-we-can lunacy, including trying to buy the “loyalty” of shrewd and self-interested tribal leaders and warlords in Notagainistan by providing them with Viagra.

    So the examination of entrails continues, looking for clues to the proper understanding of aggregate human behaviors and individual acts of Jihadicide and vengeance and Hellfire assault that all seem, to this jaded curmudgeon, to point to a vast human death wish.

  2. As in Vietnam, there is no sense of who is killed and who is wounded and who not. Nor is there any sense of who is winning beyond knowing that the Pakistran government will not win without needlessly killing inordinately numbers of civilians. President Obama is forcing war on Pakistan, another tragedy.

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