The Darra AdamKhel Tribal Bombing

BY Herschel Smith
11 years, 6 months ago

In the town of Darra Adam Khel in the NWFP of Pakistan, the Taliban attacked a tribal meeting.

DARRA ADAMKHEL/ PESHAWAR, March 2: A powerful blast hit a tribal peace jirga near the Zarghunkhel checkpost in Darra Adamkhel on Sunday, killing at least 42 people and wounding another 58.

The jirga of Zarghunkhel, Akhurwal, Sheraki, Bostikhel and Toor Chapper tribes had been convened to discuss the formation of a Lashkar to drive militants out of the area, sources said.

It was not clear if the blast was the work of a suicide bomber, but local officials said that a teenager had detonated explosives just after the meeting had ended.

A severed head was found at the site and the officials believed it was that of the bomber. Some people identified the teenager as a youth from the Sheraki area of Darra, a hub of militants.

Security forces, it may be mentioned, launched an operation against militants in Darra Adamkhel in January in which scores of security personnel and militants have been killed.

Izat Khan, a tribesman injured in the explosion, told Dawn at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar that the blast took place when the tribal elders were finalising modalities for raising the tribal force.

“I fell and became unconscious just as I was about to leave the meeting,” Mr Khan recalled. He pointed out that no official of the political administration or the army was there and said he had doubts about the official statement that the blast had been caused by a suicide attack.

This is the fourth explosion during the past three days in the NWFP and Fata. On Friday, an explosion killed three police personnel and a blast in Swat during the funeral of one of the slain police personnel killed 46 people. A suicide bomber hit a vehicle of Levies Force in Bajaur tribal region on Saturday and killed two people and wounded 24 others.

The jirga was attended by over 1,000 tribesmen. It had started at about 9am and ended at two hours later after unanimously deciding to form a Lashkar and calling upon the army to withdraw troops from the area. The meeting also sanctioned action against militants, who were attacking people in the name of Islam.

Tribal elder Haji Gul Rahim said most of the people attending the jirga had dispersed and about 200 people were discussing measures for security on the Indus Highway.

Witnesses said that the blast site was littered with human flesh and severed limbs. They said that the blast was so intense that it caused severe burn injuries.

Maulana Sabir Afridi, convener of the jirga, Haji Zar Khan, Haji Nazer, Haji Jamal Hussain, Malik Mohammad Nawaz and Haji Khan Mohammad Din were among the dead.

The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that recent attacks have disrupted an expected post-election calm.

In four separate incidents over the weekend, suicide bombers struck large gatherings in Pakistan, shattering a fragile sense of optimism that has prevailed since national elections on Feb. 18.

The hope has been that those elections, by empowering Pakistan’s moderate, secular parties, could help stem Pakistan’s rising tide of extremism, which has left about 500 people dead this year. But for the last week, the elections have not brought a much needed sense of calm and euphoria.

But in what seems to be a stepped-up effort to sow chaos and fear, suicide bombers struck on Friday in Lakki Marwat, in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, killing a district superintendent of police, CNN reports. The following day, militants struck again during that police official’s funeral in Swat Valley – where the Army is still battling Taliban militants – killing 46 people. On Saturday, a suicide bomber targeted the vehicle of a security official in Bajaur Agency, a Taliban enclave near the border of Afghanistan, killing 21 people, the Associated Press reports.

Perhaps the inept analysts in the MSM expected a post-election calm due to empowering secular parties in Pakistan, but readers of The Captain’s Journal knew better.  In Misinterpreting the Pakistani Elections, we summarized the elections thusly: “The less ideologically driven voter abandoned the Islamist party, but then, he never voted for that party for the purposes of institution of sharia law anyway.  He voted for jobs, sewers, electricity, water supply and good governance several years ago and got none of what he voted for. Hence, he overthrew the clerics this time around.  The die-hards joined the Taliban.  There are various colors and stripes of jihadists the world over, from Salafism to Wahhabism, from the purist Sunni radicals in Saudi Arabia to the Shi’a Mullahs and their followers in Iran.  But one common element among them all is the utter rejection of democracy.  Democracy is deemed to be directly contrary to Islam, and the Taliban, al Qaeda and their sympathizers and advocates sat out the election.  They had no stake in it.”

The voters rejected two things: (1) Musharraf’s administration, and (2) the more moderate Islamicists (i.e., the ones who failed at administrating a state, but who also never saw Sharia law as being implemented through violence.  The religious extremists didn’t vote or run for office.  As to the future of Pakistan, we have consistently pointed out that there are two Taliban fronts; one in Afghanistan and the other in Pakistan.  There has been a resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda (with the new focus on suicide missions as we pointed out), and because the Pashtun have rejected the concept of a global war on terror, U.S. and Pakistani forces find unfriendly human terrain in the NWFP and FATA, and not just due to Taliban presence.  When the people do not support the campaign, the campaign finds the way hard and toiling.

The U.S. expects for there to be continued kinetic operations against the Taliban, and Musharraf soldiers on in implementing operations against them.  At some point it is likely that these operations will devolve into talks with the Taliban because the Army, the regional tribes, and the population in general will not support continued kinetic operations.  How long Musharraf can continue to press these operations without toppling his regime remains an open question.

The real news here is not that there is continuing Taliban violence, but that The Captain’s Journal laid out the correct scenario for you before it happened.  You should continue to read TCJ for cutting edge analysis.

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You are currently reading "The Darra AdamKhel Tribal Bombing", entry #981 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Pakistan,Religion and Insurgency,Taliban and was published March 4th, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

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