29 December 2007

Terrorism and Pakistan, part 1

As Pakistan now moves into the forefront of the Global War on Terror, it is time to start looking at some of the detail of the problems there.

In JAN 2007 Bill Roggio gave a rundown of the various faction leaders in Waziristan, in Pakistan, which helps give some 'lay of the land', and is an initial grasp on the conflict side in Afghanistan and how that is now emanating from Pakistan. But it is the presence in Pakistan that now shifts to the political side and threateningly so. It is no longer one where 'moderates' are relatively 'safe'. Just the opposite, in fact. Benazir Bhutto had prepared to meet her end in Pakistan as seen by this Newsweek article of 20 OCT 2007:

Benazir Bhutto was worried she would not survive the day. It was, for her, to be a moment of joyous return after eight years of exile, but also an hour of great peril. Just before she left Dubai for Pakistan on Thursday, Oct. 18, Bhutto directed that a letter be hand-delivered to Pervez Musharraf, the embattled Pakistani autocrat with whom she had negotiated a tenuous political alliance. If anything happens to me, please investigate the following individuals in your government, she wrote, according to an account given to NEWSWEEK by her husband, Asif Ali Zardari. Bhutto, Pakistan's former prime minister, then proceeded to name several senior security officials she considered to be enemies, Zardari said. Principal among those she identified, according to another supporter who works for her Pakistan People's Party, was Ejaz Shah, the head of Pakistan's shadowy Intelligence Bureau, which runs domestic surveillance in somewhat the way M.I.5 does in Britain. Shah, a longtime associate of Musharraf's, is believed by Bhutto supporters to have Islamist sympathies. And Bhutto had boldly challenged Pakistan's Muslim extremists, declaring before her arrival that "the terrorists are trying to take over my country, and we have to stop them."
Not all that goes on with the government there is under Musharraf's control, but it is still his responsibility, nonetheless. Next up one of the local warlords:
Bhutto was certainly prescient about the threat. On Thursday, as her motorcade inched along a parade route guarded by roughly 20,000 Pakistani security forces, one or more suicide bombers set off twin explosions that killed at least 134 bystanders and police, and injured 450 others. The bombs narrowly missed Bhutto, who had ducked into her armored truck minutes before. Shaken but uninjured, she was rushed to safety. Musharraf's government quickly fingered Baitullah Mehsud, a longtime Taliban supporter and director of some of the most lethal training facilities for suicide bombers in the far-off mountains of Waziristan. Mehsud had reportedly threatened Bhutto. She and her husband, however, pointed much closer to home. "We do not buy that it was Mehsud," Zardari told NEWSWEEK. There was no immediate evidence that Shah was connected to the bombing. At a news conference the next day, though, Bhutto noted that the streetlights had mysteriously been turned off on her parade route and said: "I am not accusing the government. I am accusing people, certain individuals who abuse their positions. Who abuse their powers."

Whoever the real culprits turn out to be, the truth is that Pakistan's government has only itself to blame for the carnage in Karachi. Pakistani leaders created the Islamist monster that now operates with near impunity throughout the country. Militant Islamist groups that were originally recruited, trained and armed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) have since become Islamabad's deadliest enemies. Twice they have nearly succeeded in assassinating Musharraf, who was once among their strongest supporters. In the last six years extremists have killed more than 1,000 Pakistani troops.
Baitullah Mehsud, Taliban leader is, of course, opposed to democracy in Pakistan and any form of secular government. The ISI has been involved in this sort of thing, however, since the 1950's in Kashmir and during the '70s under Bhutto's father in Afghanistan. Part of that 'long view' is seen a bit further on and relates to the tribal values of fighting as further supported by the various Pakistani regimes:
After 9/11 Musharraf promised Washington that he would cut off support for such groups, including the Taliban. Early on, he authorized the arrests of several top Qaeda leaders in Pakistani cities, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and Abu Zubaydah, a top Qaeda organizer. But Musharraf's efforts have always been somewhat halfhearted, constrained by the deep sympathies that many of his countrymen have for jihadists. For decades Pakistanis were taught that the guerrillas were Muslim heroes, fighting for national honor and security. Such loyalties cannot be turned off like a tap. Several of the militants' onetime spymasters, both inside and outside the government, maintain links to their former charges. The security services will go after certain figures—particularly foreign Qaeda fighters—but ask others simply to lie low. Many officials—even many ordinary citizens—still think the jihadists should be preserved for future use as a strategic weapon, especially against India, long after America's War on Terror is over.
Yes, the use of such terrorists is seen as a tool of the State to be used against India. The use of such for purely tribal warfare is deeply ingrained in the region in which British Colonial rule didn't do much in Pakistan to wipe out those older systems of warfare. The Taliban and terrorists cited as moving to Pakistan or working from it in the article include: Abdul Majadd, Mullah Momin Ahmed(deceased), Mullah Shabir Ahmad of the Taliban Shura Council, Din Mohammad, Mullah Rehmat, Agha Jan former Taliban Defense Minister, Haji Muhamad Omar naming Bhutto as 'an agent of Washington', Mullah Fazlullah, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Most of these live openly in Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar, and frequent villages noted for weapons production, like Dera Adam Khel, which did similar for those fighting the USSR. Additionally UN refugee camps are cited as being refuges for jihadists, as seen later in the article:
The Afghan refugee camps around Peshawar, meanwhile, have become vast jihadist sanctuaries. The Jalozai and Shamshatu camps, each housing some 100,000 Afghan refugees, date back to the war against the Soviets. Complaints from the Afghan government have forced Islamabad and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to begin the long process of emptying Jalozai, a job that's supposed to be completed by next spring. Many of the camp's high-walled compounds are already abandoned. But few Jalozai residents are returning to Afghanistan when they leave the camps. Most are settling in Peshawar or other towns in the vicinity, which will allow the Taliban more space to operate in. A local mullah was arrested in Jalozai earlier this year after three Pakistani militants blew themselves up while using his house as a bomb factory.

The Shamshatu camp, just south of Peshawar, is the personal fiefdom of the notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. His guerrillas, the Hizb-i-Islami ("Party of Islam"), operate mainly in Afghanistan's Kunar province, but Shamshatu is their power base, in effect an autonomous enclave within Pakistan. Like Jalozai, the place resembles a sprawling, labyrinthine Afghan village of mud-brick houses surrounded by high mud walls, and it's ruled by strict, Taliban-style Islamic law. Music is forbidden—even musical ringtones on cell phones. So is tobacco. Women are banned from venturing outside except in the company of a male relative. (There are girls' schools, though: unlike his Taliban allies, Hekmatyar believes in women's education.)

Shamshatu contains high-security areas that are out of bounds even to camp residents. Camp residents say Hekmatyar's men run private jails in these off- limits areas. Recently a woman who lived in the camp dared to go shopping alone. When she entered a small electronics shop, gunmen followed her. They forced the shopkeeper to close his store, detained the woman and telephoned her husband. "If you won't kill her, we will," they told him, before handing her over with a warning that if they caught her again without an escort, they would kill her. Then they confiscated the shopkeeper's goods and threw him out of the camp.
Hekmatyar was a creature of Bhutto's father against the USSR and now has a life of his own and support network going across the region from Kashmir to Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Iran and China. But do note he is one of those 'moderate terrorists' who approves of women's education! Mind you women still get killed for going out alone. Still very 'moderate' as these things go... alert Congress!

After that there is the whole Islamic Bomb concept to worry about:

U.S. government officials say that Musharraf's government still has tight control over the nation's nuclear-weapons program. Still, radicals would not need to steal a whole bomb in order to create havoc. Pakistan has never made a public accounting of its nuclear materials, and last year its Atomic Energy Agency began publishing ads in newspapers instructing the public about how to recognize radioactive materials and their symbols. The ads were quickly withdrawn after they incited fears that fissile material had gone missing. But Pervez Hoodbhoy, a noted nuclear physicist at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, says outside experts don't really know how much highly enriched uranium Pakistan has produced in the past and how much remains in existing stocks. "No one has a real idea about that," he says. "That means that stuff could have gotten out. Little bits here or there. But we really don't know."

In Washington, a senior administration official involved in counterterrorism said U.S. intelligence is chronically fearful that Islamists might get hold of nuclear material, equipment or know-how in Pakistan. He recalled that after 9/11, a group of rogue Pakistani nuclear scientists met with Osama bin Laden. "Given that history, we continue to look at this issue very closely," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Yes, we are so good at measuring WMD work like in Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea... how unfortunate we missed the entire 'Pakistan seriously working towards nuclear devices' thing that was going on for decades. And while the people of Pakistan don't really want Islamic Fascism they have other problems:

Few Pakistanis have any desire to live under the militants' rule. The trouble is, the country's moderate alternatives have become almost as unpopular. Musharraf won a third term as president by a unanimous Electoral Assembly vote on Oct. 6 (heavily boycotted by the opposition). In a recent nationwide poll by the International Republican Institute, however, he earned a dismal 21 percent approval rating. Bhutto fared little better, scoring a pitiful 28 percent. Many Pakistanis were appalled by her willingness to cut a deal with Musharraf so that he would allow her to return from exile.
Yes, she was the *best* and greatest hope for trying to get democracy going again. Benazir Bhutto was a flawed woman, in a flawed party, in a Nation that is highly divided and corrupt beyond belief. As to how such radicals can be in Pakistan, there is a final bit from the article worth reading:

The Taliban war effort is also greatly aided by dozens of "retired" former officials in Mullah Omar's defunct Taliban government who now reside in Pakistan, some armed with Pakistani national identity cards. The Taliban don't think they're putting anything past the ISI—"the black snake," as they call the agency. Mullah Shabir Ahmad, a provincial commander, spends upwards of six months of the year inside Pakistan. "The Pakistanis know what we eat for lunch and dinner," he says. Mullah Momin Ahmed, visiting his family in Quetta shortly before his death in September, agreed: "Pakistan knows everything about us, but it seems to ignore us." Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the military's chief spokesman, says that Pakistani forces have arrested and deported 1,500 Taliban to Afghanistan, "but many somehow return."
This sounds a lot like 'catch and release' on the US southern border, somehow no matter how much you send them away, they come back. Hekmatyar is used to playing that game, having contacts widely across Pakistan, Afghanistan and Western Iran, he is more than willing to play the 'political' game of make nice and then return to terrorism, as has been the case this year, after declaring in late 2006 he was amenable to the 'political process' and then opening up terror attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan on 03 DEC 2007 to show that he wasn't much interested in that anymore.

From Bill Roggio's listing lets take up start to look at some of the other organizations operating in Pakistan. He would expand upon that in a report on Waziristan in The Weekly Standard on 10 OCT 2007, and some of the roles these individuals play:

Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and allied terror groups operate 29 training camps in North and neighboring South Waziristan. Senior al Qaeda operatives are believed to be operating in North Waziristan, including Hamza bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's son and possible successor, and Abu Kasha.

In January 2007, an American military intelligence official told the Long War Journal that Abu Kasha is the key link between al Qaeda's Shura Majlis (consultive body) and the Taliban. Abu Kasha is an Iraqi Arab who runs his organization in Mir Ali. He has two local commanders, Imanullah and Haq Nawaz Dawar, who administer local al Qaeda offices.

Abu Kasha has a working relationship and close communication with the Uzbeki terror groups, including the Islamic Jihad Group, which is run by Najimuddin Uzbek, who also operates out of North Waziristan.

North Waziristan also hosts Taliban commander Sadiq Noor, who runs his operations from Miranshah and hosts Taliban and al Qaeda meetings from his offices. Noor and his Taliban conduct sharia courts, adjudicate local disputes and announce punishments, collect taxes and run a private jail. Sadiq Noor is closely associated with JUI-F (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur Rehman). He "fought on the Bagram front in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance. He is also believed to support anti-U.S. entities in Khost, Afghanistan," the Jamestown Foundation reported.
The Taliban and al Qaeda are running their own multi-Nation operation for continuance of operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but using Pakistan as an operational command center. Also note the presence of foreign terror organizations, in Pakistan, beyond those of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir operations. This is supported by a Daily Times of Pakistan article of 09 JAN 2007 on this same topic and indicates where some of the support is coming from in North Waziristan:
Since the signing of the North Waziristan accord, cross borders attacks have increased rather. Mine explosions and rocket attacks against the Pakistan Army are continuing and the writ of the government has been reduced significantly. After consolidating their position in South and North Waziristan, the Taliban have started organising themselves in other FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Area] agencies, including adjoining towns like Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Kohat, and the Dir and Malakand region. Local populations and tribes are fearful of the wrath of the Taliban and are forced to support them even financially.
Here the intimidation/coercion factor of well armed terrorists against local tribes is a key point for extracting payments from those towns and villages. In South Waziristan, prior to the recent outbreak of fighting, this was the situation:

In South Waziristan, according to the sources, the two main Taliban commanders are Baitullah and Abdullah from the Mehsud tribes. The former is the most powerful Taliban commander in the entire South Waziristan. He signed a peace deal with the Pakistani authorities at Sararogha in February 2005. It was agreed that the army will evacuate tribal territories, the Taliban will not attack the army, foreigners will not get protection, the army will not conduct operations against the Taliban if they agreed to help in the completion of development work. After the agreement, the Taliban established 16 offices in different parts of the Mehsud territory which are still functioning. They undertook harsh steps against criminals and dacoits. A ban was imposed on the use of computers/TV/music/dance. Sharia law was imposed. Baitullah has a lashkar of 30,000 armed tribesmen, while Abdullah has 5,000 armed men associated with him. Both groups give training to local youth and organise cross-border attacks. Baitullah Mehsud is associated with JUI-F like Sadiq Noor in North Waziristan while Abdullah Mehsud is attached to Uzbek/Tajik groups.

The sources said that in the Ahmedzai Wazir tribe, there were 14 groups of Taliban until November 2006 but after the appointment of Mullah Nazir as commander, all of them were brought under one leadership. Two Taliban commanders, Ghulam Jan and Ifthikar, do not accept Mullah Nazir as commander. However, Mullah Nazir remains the most powerful Taliban commander. He and other Taliban commanders like Muhammad Umer, Sharif, Noor Islam, Maulvi Abbas and Javed are affiliated with JUI-F. A separate group under commander Zanjeer, associated with Gulbadin Hikmatyar of Hizbe Islami is connected to the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan.

Taliban commander Noor Islam based in Wana is an active supporter of Uzbek/Tajik and rebel Arabs. Haji Khanan, who is against the presence of Uzbeks, is another important Taliban commander. He is based in the Shakai area of the agency. Uzbek commanders and Abdullah Mehsud groups are more active in attacks on supporters of the government, while Arab commanders are more active in cross-border attacks.
Here the influence of Pakistani based Hekmatyar with Taliban leaders is seen in giving them aid and assistance in Pakistan. The division of labor between local tribes, outside Uzbeks and Arabs is an interesting phenomena used to help discriminate and disperse externally oriented operations.

Now for those of you looking for a scorecard of which group does what, the South Asia Terrorism Portal has listings across the region so a basic understanding can be found. Their Pakistan group listing is a start, but detail is often lacking. The Pak Institute for Peace has a lovely name change scorecard so you can keep track of which organization has decided it needs a new name.

Now for a run down of the players involved in forment chaos in the area:

Abdullah and Baitullah Mehsud

07 FEB 2005 - A Time magazine report suggested the proliferation network of A.Q. Khan sold nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Pakistan called the suggestion “baseless.” On the same day, South Waziristan Pashtun militant leader Baitullah Mehsud and about 100 of his supporters were granted amnesty by the regional administration after vowing to remain peaceful. A Pakistani army spokesman later confirmed that the “peace deal” included giving Mehsud and three other tribal leaders about $540,000 to repay loans they had taken from Al Qaeda. Also, unidentified gunmen shot and killed two journalists in South Waziristan. The act was later called terrorism by Pakistan’s interior minister. Finally, four bombs destroyed a key transportation line in Baluchistan.- 25 APR 2005 in a CRS Report (via GlobalSecurity)

13 MAR 2005 - Abdullah Mehsud, a former prisoner at the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay wanted in connection with the October 2004 kidnaping of two Chinese engineers in Waziristan, was reported to have died of a bullet wound sustained in a 3/5 gunbattle. On the same day, Pakistani security forces reportedly arrested ten Al Qaeda suspects in North Waziristan near the Afghan border. - 25 APR 2005 in a CRS Report (via GlobalSecurity)

From The Crime Library:

Who is Baitullah Mehsud? Part 1

By Anthony Bruno

Baitullah Mehsud is not a household name—yet. Terrorist leaders tend to be nameless and faceless until their deeds earn them infamy. Osama bin Laden's name was largely unknown to the public until Sept. 11, 2001. But with General Pervez Musharraf's recent imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan and his desperate struggle to hang onto power, Baitullah's name has begun to emerge in daily news reports coming out of Pakistan. Some portray him as an annoying stone in Musharraf's shoe, just one of several problems confronting the general. But others see Baitullah as a pivotal figure who could tip the political balance in Pakistan toward militant Islam and spark terror attacks throughout the world.


Baitullah's advocates say he has brought peace to the region, but detractors note that the peace came at a price—literally. Like a Mafia boss, he and his lieutenants shake down the populace for protection money. He's closely allied to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and, like the Taliban, he enforces an extreme form of shariah in his territory. Women must observe a strict form of purdah, and men are forbidden to shave their beards. Playing music and watching videos are against the law. He has ordered the murder of adulterers by stoning. There are few Pakistani government courts in the region, and the Waziristanis seldom use them. Instead they go to Baitullah to settle their differences. In South Waziristan and parts of North Waziristan, he is the law.


Baitullah is also said to have ordered the suicide-bomber attack on Benazir Bhutto the day after she returned to the country on October 18, 2007. The explosions were close enough to Bhutto's car to shatter the windshield. Baitullah denies that he was behind the attack, though it's no secret that he despises her for her pro-American stance. He also opposes Musharraf for the same reason.
Part 2 from The Crime Library by Anthony Bruno:
Tribal militant leader Baitullah Mehsud has shown a disturbing interest in Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the controversial father of Pakistan's nuclear arms program, who in 2004 admitted to selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea on the black market. Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan reported that when Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October of this year, Baitullah instructed Al Qaeda militants in Karachi to kill her for "three major offenses against Islamists." First, she supported the Pakistani military attack on Lal Masjid (the Red Mosque) in Islamabad on July 10, 2007—Lal Masjid was considered a hotbed of Islamist radicalism; one hundred and sixty-four Pakistani special-forces commandos stormed the mosque and madrassah, killing at least 20 and injuring over 100. Second, Bhutto has made it clear that if she takes power in Pakistan, she will allow American forces to search for Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan's borders. Third, she has said that if elected, she would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to question A. Q. Khan.


Until 2005, Baitullah lived in the shadow of his daring and charismatic brother, Abdullah Mehsud, who, with his long black hair, was considered a terrorist rock star. Abdullah fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance and in 1996 lost a leg when he stepped on a land mine. He was taken captive by warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum who turned him over to American forces. Abdullah Mehsud was sent to Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and held for two years, insisting the whole time that he was just an innocent tribesman. He was released in 2004 for reasons which remain unclear and returned to Waziristan. Soon after his return, he orchestrated the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers working on a dam in his region, proclaiming that Beijing was guilty of killing Muslims. He also ordered an attack on Pakistan's Interior Minister in which 31 people perished. In July 2007 he died in a clash with Pakistani military forces as they raided his residence.


Baitullah made his intentions clear this past January when he said, "As far as jihad is concerned, we will continue to wage it. We will do what is in the interest of Islam." Speaking of the growing threat of Baitullah's militia, Pakistani military analyst, Hasan-Askari Rizvi, told The New York Times, "The army has never faced such a serious challenge in the tribal areas."
And then The Telegraph UK has this exchange 29 DEC 2007:
Here is a translation of the transcript of the alleged telephone conversation from senior al-Qa'eda leader Baitullah Mehsud to another militant said to have been intercepted after the assassination.

Maulvi Sahib (MS): Asalaam Aleikum (Peace be with you)

Baitullah Mehsud (BM): Waleikum Asalam (And also with you)

MS: Chief, how are you?

BM: I am fine.

MS: Congratulations, I just got back during the night.

BM: Congratulations to you, were they our men?

MS: Yes they were ours.

BM: Who were they?

MS: There was Saeed, there was Bilal from Badar and Ikramullah.

BM: The three of them did it?

MS: Ikramullah and Bilal did it.

BM: Then congratulations.
So, while Baitullah Mehsud may claim otherwise, but there is the highest suspicion that his organization was behind the Bhutto assassination. Now to try a bit of decompilation of the message to see if it is more than just gibberish.

On the organizational side of things, the Mehsud group is part of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Source: SATP) or at least has strong organizational affiliations with them. From the Terror Knowledge Base LeJ entry we get one individual who would *definitely* be the man to know - Matiur Rehman. His value for such an operation is given in the TKB listing:
Biography: Born in South Punjab, Pakistan, in 1976 or 1977, Matiur Rehman, rose to prominence in the late 1990s by setting up sophisticated terrorist networks in Pakistan through which he recruited young men to be trained in al-Qaeda's camps.

Rehman passed through a number of training camps sponsored by al-Qaeda and proved himself a skilled explosives expert, with a talent for passing his specialized knowledge to recruits. As well as instructing fellow Pakistanis, Rehman also trained the most promising visiting Western recruits. It is believed that in the late 1990s Rehman helped train thousands of Pakistani, African and Arab militants at al-Qaeda camps.

Rehman was a deputy for the jihadi militant Amjad Farooqi, a reputed organizer of militant training camps, with links to al-Qaeda and the defunct Harakat-ul-Ansar. After Farooqi was killed by Pakistani police in September of 2004, Rehman became the Chief Liaison between al-Qaeda and the Pakistani jihadi community. He took over the extensive directory that has been dubbed by the Intelligence community the “Rolodex of Jihad”. The “Rolodex” is a massive log listing the name, affiliation, skill set and contact information of every Pakistani militant trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. This directory served as a database for recruiting volunteers for terrorist operations in South Asia and the West. Farooqi and Rehman relied heavily on the directory to establish a wide-ranging, underground logistical infrastructure that proved crucial to al-Qaeda's senior leadership in Pakistani tribal areas.

Pakistani officials believe Rehman has been deeply involved in most of the major terror attacks in Pakistan in the last few years. For instance, he was reportedly implicated in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, although a conclusive link has not been proven.

Other notorious actions in which he was allegedly involved include multiple assassination attempts by militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in December 2003 and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in July 2004. More recently, Rehman is believed to have planned the suicide car bombing on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi in March 2nd, 2006. The attack killed an American diplomat, State Department Foreign Service officer David Foy.

On July 5th, 2006 Pakistan’s government issued a “red book” containing information about the 162 most-wanted terrorists in the country, including Rehman. He is now Pakistan’s most wanted terrorist, and Pakistani authorities have posted a 10-million rupee reward for his capture.

Rehman has also been mentioned as one of the prime suspects in the London Airplane plot of August 12th, 2006. His name surfaced during the questioning of one of the 17 suspects arrested in Pakistan linked with the plot to destroy as many as 10 U.S.-bound jetliners mid-flight. U.S. intelligence officials believe the plot may have been conceived by Rehman. He is also said to have personally supervised the training of young British radicals in the preparation for another major, “spectacular” terror attack. U.S. authorities believe these operations were timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. In discrepancy with the Western Intelligence community, however, Pakistani officials have expressed their doubts about Rehman’s implication in the London plot.

Rehman is reportedly in charge of al-Qaeda's Pakistani organization and is also thought to be chief of al-Qaeda's military committee. Rehman is believed to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan and remains in constant communication with al Qaeda's top leadership.
So, only if Mehsud were in direct contact with bin Laden or Zawahiri and either of them ordered such a thing could he fit. Any way you cut it, if Bhutto was assassinated by al Qaeda, Rehman was involved. Thus, if you had to get three individuals of high capability together to assassinate a high level politician, then Matiur Rehman is the man to go to for al Qaeda.

That should fill up most folks scorecards pretty well, and I will continue on with this at another time, to start looking into a few other things, like the parent group of LeJ, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lal Majid.


gerald said...

Excellent article

A Jacksonian said...

Gerald - Thank you. Only so-so by my lights, as I wanted to get a few basics out there. Now I'm taking a bit of time to look deeper into things... the stuff going on in Pakistan is extremely complex. Once I understand it a bit better, I will move on to pt. 2, looking for the likely actors, although the media will probably get that first when the Pakistani government makes an announcement on their initial findings.