Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pakistan Battles Al Qaeda 

Good news out of Pakistan:

The Pakistani army says it has destroyed a major al-Qaeda hideout in its biggest ever operation in the North Waziristan tribal region.
The military says it has arrested more than 20 suspected militants near the Afghan border and seized a Chinese-made spy plane used to track army movements.

The army says the operation, involving helicopter gunships and thousands of troops, is still going on.

Anytime Pakistan captures Al Qaeda members is a good thing, but look at the timing:
The operation comes as President Pervez Musharraf, on a visit to the United States, says Pakistan is winning the war on terrorism.

He has been under pressure to show the army is also committed to rooting out Taleban fighters who might be using Pakistan as a base to launch attacks on Afghanistan.

The Afghan government has repeatedly accused Pakistan of not doing enough to stop the Taleban from carrying out cross-border raids.
I don't have time right now, but I'd like to do a Lexis search to see how often Pakistan captures militants when Musharraf is visiting, or about to visit, with U.S. officials. I have a hunch it happens just about every time. No doubt Musharraf is on dangerous ground in Pakistan, but I think it's fairly clear that his government knows a lot more about Al Qaeda, then we are lead to believe. Especially, where they are located.

The linked article has some interesting tidbits, including this, about a captured Chinese spy drone, used by Al Qaeda:
The commander in charge of the operation said sophisticated equipment had been seized, including a small, Chinese-made remote controlled drone, which he said had been used by the militants to spy on army movements and positions in the area.

The drone was shown to the media along with communications equipment which the army said had been used to give instructions to fighters in Afghanistan.

<--------So "sophisticated", that I may have once had this as a child. In fact, it did say "Made in China" on it. I'm now less scared of the Chinese military buildup.


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