The Blog

Where the Taliban Still Rule

Not in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan.

12:00 AM, Jul 28, 2006 • By DAN DARLING
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

THE TALIBAN CONTINUE to retain their alliance with al Qaeda. The Daily Times reported last month that Maulana Faqir Muhammad, the leader of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz Shariah Muhammad and a major figure within the Pakistani Taliban, narrowly escaped the American missile attack on Damadola, which targeted a number of al Qaeda leaders (including bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri). And while both al-Zawahiri and Muhammad survived the Damadola attack, Abu Khabab, the head of al Qaeda's wmd program did not. The fact that Muhammad and other senior members of the Pakistani Taliban continue to openly associate with both their Afghan brethren and some of the most wanted terrorists on the planet is evidence enough that their rise to power inside Pakistan constitutes a threat. For instance, one of the senior Taliban commanders killed by the Pakistani military in March 2006 was the Chechen Emir Asad; other senior commanders of note within the group include Tahir Yuldashev of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Sheikh Essa al-Masri of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, both of which are tied to al Qaeda's international jihad.

It is time to acknowledge the continuing threat of al Qaeda's rear bases and discuss how to deal them, whether or not it makes the Pakistani government uncomfortable.

Dan Darling is a counterterrorism consultant.