Pakistan: did US drone attack kill tribal peace deal?

From India’s Daily News & Analysis (DNA), Nov. 2:

LAHORE: The October 30 pre-dawn air strike on a religious seminary in the Bajaur Agency on the Pak-Afghan border was carried out by US predator drones to sabotage the signing of yet a another peace deal between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban backed militants, which was to be inked a few hours later inside the compound of the Madrassa Ziaul Uloom where 82 people were killed as a result of the deadly missile attack.

According to well-placed Pakistani intelligence sources in Islamabad, Maulana Faqir Mohammad, once the most wanted cleric in the Bajaur tribal region, and his fellow militants had agreed to ink a peace accord with the military soon after the Eid-ul-Fitr, as all his relatives, including his brother, Maulana Gul Mohamed had been released as a goodwill gesture before the Eid to pave the way for the deal.

The sources said that the tribal elders of the Bajaur Agency had agreed with the governor of the NWFP Lt Gen (retd) Ali Mohamed Jan Orakzai to sign the peace agreement on October 30.

However, the deal could not see the light of the day because of the pre-dawn air strikes that killed Maulvi Liaqat, the right hand man of Maulana Faqir Mohammad, chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi.

The sources said the US and the NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan are facing a tough resistance by the Taliban in the northeastern Kunar province of Afghanistan bordering Bajaur and complaints are on the rise about cross border infiltration and violence in the troubled Afghan provinces of Paktia, Paktika and Khost, which share borders with North and South Waziristan agencies on the Pak-Afghan tribal belt.

The sources added that the NATO and the US forces subsequently came to the conclusion that the so-called peace deal in North Waziristan has not only failed to produce the desired results, it has helped the Taliban re-establish themselves in the tribal territories along the Pak-Afghan border.

They believed that an upsurge in violence against the US and the NATO forces in Afghanistan was due to the Waziristan peace deal, on the ground that it removed the threat to the Taliban from Pakistan, allowing them to concentrate on a single front.

Thus, the sources said, the US would certainly not have welcomed an extension of the peace agreement to the Bajaur area which could have given leverage to the Taliban backed militants. And the attack in the Bajaur was aimed at pre-empting signing yet another similar deal.

See our last post on Pakistan.