Waziristan tribes angry with Taliban

Waziristan tribes angry with Taliban

* Military offensive in Waziristan expected to begin in a month or two

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: With Pakistan on the brink of taking its anti-Taliban campaign to the Tribal Areas, civilian as well as military leaders in Islamabad are banking on growing anger with the Pakistani Taliban among tribesmen, the Wall Street Journal has said.

Popular support for the insurgents undermined years of attempts to subdue the border areas. The region is largely off limits to outsiders – foreigners and Pakistanis alike.

But the military hopes to channel the disenchantment behind its coming campaign in Waziristan. An estimated 15,000 Taliban from Pakistan and parts of eastern Afghanistan are said to have massed in the area. The military offensive is expected to begin in the next month or two.

Anger at the Taliban mirrors a broader anti-Taliban sentiment across Pakistan.

The military launched its assault in Swat about a month ago after the Taliban violated a peace agreement that gave them control of the area.

The Tribal Areas represent a far greater challenge. Intelligence officials say top leaders of the Swat Taliban have retreated, along with hundreds of followers, to North and South Waziristan.

There still is broad popular support in the area for the Taliban fighting United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also enjoy the support of tens of thousands of people whose relatives were killed or homes flattened in the military’s attempts to assert authority in the Tribal Areas.