A Pakistani Awakening?

A.J. Strata of the Stratosphere has been reporting on this story for months. Evidently, some of the Tribes in Pakistan started their own Iraqi-style "Awakening" by going after al-Qaeda in the NWFP. Now the government appears ready to assist them by supplying them with arms:

Pakistan plans to arm tens of thousands of anti-Taliban tribal fighters in its western border region in hopes -- shared by the U.S. military -- that the nascent militias can replicate the tribal "Awakening" movement that proved decisive in the battle against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The militias, called lashkars, will receive Chinese-made AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms, a purchase arranged during a visit to Beijing this month by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani officials said.

Many Bush administration officials remain skeptical of Pakistan's long-term commitment to fighting the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups ensconced in the mountains near the border with Afghanistan. But the decision to arm the lashkars, which emerged as organized fighting forces only in the past few months, is one of several recent actions that have led the Pentagon to believe that the Pakistani effort has become more aggressive.

The Pakistani army has launched several abortive attacks in the Swat region as well as in the mountainous border region with Afghanistan. Not only did the army underperform but the Taliban was not inconvenienced much at all.

This move to formalize an arrangement with the tribes that has been ongoing for several months has the potential to reap big dividends for both the Pakistanis and the Afghans.



A.J. Strata of the Stratosphere has been reporting on this story for months. Evidently, some of the Tribes in Pakistan started their own Iraqi-style "Awakening" by going after al-Qaeda in the NWFP. Now the government appears ready to assist them by supplying them with arms:

Pakistan plans to arm tens of thousands of anti-Taliban tribal fighters in its western border region in hopes -- shared by the U.S. military -- that the nascent militias can replicate the tribal "Awakening" movement that proved decisive in the battle against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The militias, called lashkars, will receive Chinese-made AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms, a purchase arranged during a visit to Beijing this month by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani officials said.

Many Bush administration officials remain skeptical of Pakistan's long-term commitment to fighting the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups ensconced in the mountains near the border with Afghanistan. But the decision to arm the lashkars, which emerged as organized fighting forces only in the past few months, is one of several recent actions that have led the Pentagon to believe that the Pakistani effort has become more aggressive.

The Pakistani army has launched several abortive attacks in the Swat region as well as in the mountainous border region with Afghanistan. Not only did the army underperform but the Taliban was not inconvenienced much at all.

This move to formalize an arrangement with the tribes that has been ongoing for several months has the potential to reap big dividends for both the Pakistanis and the Afghans.