The Fall of Waziristan: An Online History
Documenting the Taliban's rise to power in Waziristan over the course of 2006

The federally Administered Tribal Areas and North West Frontier Province. Click to enlrage.

The fall of North and South Waziristan and the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan was an event telegraphed by al-Qaeda and the Taliban. During the winter of 2006, Osama bin Laden announced his strategy to establish bases and pockets of territory along the Afghan-Pakistani border. The Taliban and al-Qaeda (virtually indistinguishable in this region at this point in time) had been fighting a long term insurgency against the Pakistani Army after President Musharraf put troops in the region shortly after 9-11.

But two developments accelerated al-Qaeda's plans to conquer the agencies of North and South Waziristan: the airstrike against Ayman al-Zawahiri in Damadola, and the attack on the Danda Saidgai training camp in North Waziristan. In both instances, al-Qaeda's senior leadership was targeted, and in Danda Saidgai, Osama bin Laden and his praetorian 'Black Guard,' or personal bodyguard, were the subject of the attack.

While bin Laden and Zawahiri escaped, senior commanders such as Abu Khabab al-Masri (WMD chief) and Imam Asad (chief trainer of the Black Guard), among others were killed. Al-Qaeda could no longer countenance a Pakistani presence in the region. The time had come to force the Pakistani Army to withdraw and force the government to accept terms of surrender. Al-Qaeda retaliated for the airstrikes by murdering a U.S. official at the Consulate in Karachi.

South Waziristan fell some time in the spring of 2006 (I suspect sometime in late March). On March 6, I referred to South Waziristan as 'Talibanistan.' Shariah Law was declared in South Waziristan at this time and the Taliban began to rule openly. A single political party was established in South Waziristan, a party loyal to the Taliban. It is said a secret accord was signed between the Pakistani government and the Taliban around this time. All along the fighting in North Waziristan increased over the course of 2006.

Pro-Pakistani government tribal leaders and informants were murdered and made an example of. The Pakistani Army paid a devastating price for their operations in Waziristan. The official government reports claim around 200 soldiers killed, however the unofficial numbers put the casualties somewhere around 3,000 killed in combat.

On June 25, I sounded the alarm that a truce would be in the offing in North Waziristan. The Pakistan Army was taking a pounding, and President Musharraf lacked the will to fight in the region became apparent. All along, Musharraf and the Pakistani elite attempted to draw distinctions between the Taliban and “miscreants” and “foreigners”- which is merely code for al-Qaeda. The failure to realize the Taliban and al-Qaeda worked towards the same end, and have integrated political and command structures, led the Pakistani government to cut deals with the 'local Taliban' and the eventual establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan. The Taliban and al-Qaeda are by no means finished with their goals of carving out safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

The series of posts below document the history of the fall of North and South Waziristan and the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, from 2006 onward.
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