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Friday, February 27, 2009

From Mujahideen heroes to Taliban terrorists

By: Kian Mokhtari

The Areas on both sides of the modern Afghan border, beginning in Bajaur and traveling south west all the way to Baluchistan have been home to a group of fiercely independent, closely interlinked, formidable warriors for thousands of years.

The region -much reduced by the 19th century- was an independent tribal territory until 1893 and remained outside the British Empire, with frequent skirmishes a trademark in relations between the Waziri tribesmen and British rule.

Surviving historic documents and written accounts from Iran's Achaemenid Empire of 2500 years ago indicate that even then there were troubles on Eranshahr's (Persian Empire) borders with tribes that closely fit the modern-day description of the region's peoples. Around one thousand years later during Iran's Sassanid Dynasty rule, Eranshar's top warrior princes, fell prey to a major trap set by the same tribes, greatly bereaving the Royal Household.

In more recent times Waziri tribes fought alongside the Pashtun Mujahideen against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan in the 1980s. After the Taliban rule was formed in Afghanistan, Waziri fighting men went back to their old way of life in the north and south Wazirestan districts situated in modern-day Pakistan.

The Afghan Mujahideen branch loyal to the Northern Alliance of late Ahmad Shah Massoud (the Lion of Panjshir) later fell out with the southern Pashtun tribes and valiantly fought their Taliban rule. Ahmad Shah Massoud was himself assassinated by two Taliban operatives posing as the press prior to the 9/11 events.

But let us not miss the point here that the same fighting men hailed as Mujahideen heroes in the 1980s went to terrorist zeros a mere eleven years later and were bombed mercilessly accused of involvement in the terrorist atrocities in New York and Washington.

However where does the Taliban end and ethnic Waziri tribes begin in the current US hi-tech slaughter in the Wazirestan regions?
We are told day after day about the US military pilot less drone strikes that often result in the deaths of civilians in Wazirestan. The daily toll is immidiately justified by Western media reports that the Taliban terrorists are being hunted down and weeded out by the US strikes.

The news from on the ground in Wazirestan tells a totally different story however. The news speak of a war of extermination being carried out by the US against ethnically unique Waziri tribes; that a whole way of life present for thousands of years is being stamped out under the pretext of the so-called war against terror. And that tribes -totally unrelated to the Taliban politics or actions- deemed unsuited to the Western world's grand plans in the region are being snuffed out.

Independent sources speak of entire villages and towns laid waste by the US-led strikes, and thousands of Waziri refugees on the move as a new Diaspora forms due to yet more indiscriminate Western military action.

There maybe no love lost for the Taliban anywhere in the world but the distinctions have to be made. Waziri tribes cannot be wiped out simply because of a geographic misfortune. And Waziri tribesmen fighting for their survival against the US super hi-tech onslaught cannot be dubbed Taliban terrorists and have their women and children slaughtered indiscriminately.

Press TV reports that chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein, says the unmanned US air force drones operating in Pakistan are flown from an air base inside the country. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has declined to comment, but former US intelligence officials speaking on condition of anonymity, have confirmed that Feinstein's account is accurate.


The drone raids were generally believed to be conducted from airbases inside Afghanistan prior to the latest revelations.
Questions should be asked about the level of Pakistani government complicity in the carnage currently unfolding in Wazirestan. Because it appears as if the region and its ethnic people are being treated by Islamabad as tribal inconveniences outside the country's sovereign jurisdiction. Why else would Islamabad attempt to cover up US air strikes against Waziri tribes from bases inside Pakistan?

Sun, 15 Feb 2009 13:46:59 GMT | PressTV


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