PKK’s Cemil Bayik Evaluates State of the Kurdish Insurgency

Andrew McGregor

August 12, 2008

Cemil Bayik, a leading member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan – PKK), gave a lengthy interview to a Kurdish news agency on the current state of the PKK’s insurgency against the Turkish government (Firat News Agency, July 29, 30; Yeni Ozgur Politika [Neu-Isenburg], August 5).

Cemil BayikCemil Bayik

Together with alleged rival Murat Karayilan and military commander Fehman Hussein (a.k.a. Bahoz Erdal), Bayik is one of the PKK’s core leaders in the absence of the imprisoned Abdullah Ocalan. Under increasing pressure from the Turkish military in northern Iraq, Bayik was reported to have escaped across the border to Iran in May, where his small group was attacked by Iranian troops (Today’s Zaman, May 22; see also Terrorism Focus, May 20). Bayik’s military skills and leadership were criticized by Abdullah Ocalan during his 1999 trial, with Ocalan suggesting Bayik preferred to remain behind the frontlines. Little has been heard from Bayik since his flight to Iran, though it appears he may have now returned to northern Iraq.

Bayik points to the “toughened” policies of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi – AKP) towards the Kurdish people as proof the AKP is using the conflict to ingratiate itself with a civilian and military bureaucracy that was seeking to shut down the AKP. The PKK leader alleges a decision to pursue a military solution was made at a private meeting in June between General Ilker Basbug (who takes over as Chief of Staff this month) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Sabah, June 25). Nevertheless, “The PKK is powerful enough to dictate a solution to the Kurdish problem. A democratic solution could be possible if people and guerillas put up effective resistance.”

Regarding Ankara’s relations with Washington, Bayik charges Turkey with committing itself to U.S. policies in the region to earn American support against the PKK. The Turkish state “will resort to every possible method to create a dispute between us and the United States and political parties in Southern Kurdistan [northern Iraq] because experience it gained in the past decade showed it that it could not defeat Kurdish guerillas without external support.” Bayik seems to have regarded the United States as a potential ally in the past, alleging that U.S. authorities were in contact with the Iranian Kurdish wing of the PKK, the Party for Freedom in Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), which shares bases, equipment, and infrastructure with the PKK in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq (AFP, November 23, 2006). Reports of American weapons being delivered to PJAK camps in the Qandil Mountains threatened to sever U.S.-Turkish relations last year before a new pact was worked out on intelligence sharing and other co-operation against the PKK.

Bayik denies U.S. and EU charges that the PKK finances itself through drug trafficking in Europe, suggesting that it is the Turkish state that uses profits from the drug trade to finance its battle against the PKK. The U.S. turns a blind eye to this in order to increase its popularity in Turkey and use Ankara to further its regional policy (see Terrorism Monitor, June 12). Bayik also comments on Turkey’s “deep-state” Ergenekon conspiracy, suggesting that the arrests of retired generals and other suspects was only part of an attempt by the AKP to garner U.S. and EU approval.

The improving relations between Turkey and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq are obviously worrisome for the PKK, whose bases are located in northern Iraq. Bayik cautions rather than condemns KRG leaders for recent remarks indicating an absence of support for the PKK’s struggle: “We cannot say that our relations with powers in South Kurdistan are not satisfactory… We are going through a period when more positive developments than negative ones could be witnessed from the standpoint of Kurdish people…We can say that the powers in South Kurdistan encourage Turkey by making wrongheaded statements.”


This article first appeared in the August 12, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

Pakistan’s Taliban Threaten Suicide Attacks if Military Offensive in Swat Is Not Halted

Andrew McGregor

August 12, 2008

Despite the existence of a two-month-old peace agreement between Pakistan’s government and tribal militants in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), heavy fighting in the NWFP’s Swat valley region is now in its second week. More than 200,000 people have been displaced by fighting with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (Dawn [Karachi], August 10). The failed peace agreement called for a withdrawal of government security forces from the NWFP and the implementation of Shari’a law. As part of the growing tensions between Pakistan and India, Pakistan’s security agencies now claim that the majority of the weapons used by the militants are made in India (The Nation [Islamabad], August 6).

Pak Military in SwatPakistani Troops Deploy in Swat (A. Majeed/AFP)

Local militants have focused on the destruction of health clinics, girls’ schools, and bridges with planted explosives. As many as 70 schools have been destroyed, leaving 17,000 students without educational facilities. Teachers have been assassinated and several people beheaded, including a Shiite bank employee (Associated Press of Pakistan, August 10; BBC, August 6). Even tourist resorts, a backbone of the local economy in the scenic Swat valley, have been destroyed.

Pakistan’s military, while coming under criticism for the growing number of civilian casualties, also appears to be conducting a “hearts and minds” operation, providing residents of Swat with medicine and food free of cost, freeing prisoners, and compensating property owners for the destruction of their buildings (Associated Press of Pakistan, August 4; The News [Islamabad], August 5). Local jirgas (assemblies of elders) have appealed to both the Taliban and government forces to cease combat in populated areas (Nawa-e Waqt [Rawalpindi], August 6).

Eight policemen were killed when several busloads of militants attacked a police station in Swat’s Buner District. TTP spokesman Muslim Khan stated “We will continue targeting all those police officials who are taking part in the ongoing military operation against us” (Daily Times [Lahore] August 10; Dawn, August 10).

Taliban commander Ali Bakht, a close aide to regional Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah, was killed together with 13 other militants on August 6 during a five-hour battle after Pakistan’s military blew up his house (Dawn, August 7; Daily Times, August 6). Ali Bakht was one of the chief negotiators of the peace deal reached with the NWFP’s ruling Awami National Party (ANP) and is one of a number of Taliban commanders to be killed as artillery fire and helicopter gunships pound Taliban positions.

Though the Taliban insist their casualties in Swat are slight, threats to initiate a wave of suicide bombings across Pakistan’s major cities unless the military offensive is called off suggest the Taliban is feeling pressure. TTP spokesman Maulvi Omar claims a squad of suicide bombers aged 15 to 20, including young women, has been assembled for this purpose: “A large number of women have been approaching us for the past few years and consistently wishing to be given an opportunity to sacrifice their lives for a noble cause” (The News, August 6).

There are indications both the provincial government and the Taliban tried to head off the offensive by offering to enter into negotiations, but Pakistan’s military leadership was fed up with repeated violations of the existing agreement, in particular the murder of three military intelligence agents and the kidnapping of 30 members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (The News, August 5). The Army has now decided driving the Taliban militants from the Swat valley is the only solution (Daily Times [Lahore], August 5).

Fighting has also erupted in numerous other parts of the NWFP and the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA), including the Bajaur Agency, where security forces claim over 100 militants have been killed in the last four days (Frontier Post [Peshawar], August 11).


This article first appeared in the August 12, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

Sudan’s Oil Industry Faces Major Security Challenges

Andrew McGregor

August 11, 2008

Sudan’s growing oil industry has already transformed the capital of Khartoum and has the potential to raise living standards throughout the country. The industry, dominated by Asian multinationals, nevertheless faces serious security threats from rebel movements unhappy with the conduct of foreign companies and the distribution of oil revenues.

Sudan oil industrySudan has an estimated oil reserve of five billion barrels, making it an important player in an energy-hungry world. The reserves are part of the vast Central African Muglad Basin, which provides two main types of oil – Dar Blend Crude, which is typically sold at a discount due to its high acidity, and the higher quality heavy sweet Nile Blend Crude (APS Review Oil Market Trends, February 27, 2006). Sudan does not have the equipment, personnel, or experience to exploit its oil resource; foreign participation is thus essential. Oil production by Western oil companies was set to begin in the 1980s, but was halted because the outbreak of the Second Civil War made the work too dangerous. China, Malaysia, and India now control most of the Sudanese oil industry after filling the void in the 1990s.

Most of the oil is found in the South Sudan, with smaller oilfields in the western province of Kordofan. Exploration is ongoing in east Sudan and ready to begin in north Darfur. Khartoum’s control of the South Sudan oilfields depends on the outcome of provisions of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), the south’s largest rebel movement. The two signatories form the Government of National Unity (GoNU), which rules the country until the status of the South is determined by referendum in 2011.

The China Factor

Chinese involvement in Sudan’s oil sector began in 1995 when President Omar al-Bashir invited China to develop Sudan’s oil industry during a visit to Beijing (China Daily, November 3, 2006). China is now the world’s second-largest oil importer, with Sudan ranking somewhere between its fourth and sixth largest source of oil, according to various estimates (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Angola, and Oman are other major suppliers). Sudan currently pumps 500,000 bpd, with an estimated 200,000 bpd going to China, representing 6% of China’s daily supply (Reuters, January 22). According to an official of the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China has invested over $6 billion in the last decade in 14 oil projects (Sudan Tribune, November 5, 2007). In return, Beijing’s political support for Sudan at the UN Security Council and elsewhere is generally unwavering.

China’s quiet “arms for oil” exchange in the Sudan has angered rebel movements in Darfur, who have long accused Beijing of supplying the weapons used by Janjaweed militias and the regular Sudanese Army to slaughter civilians and destroy local infrastructure. It is estimated that as much as 90% of Sudan’s small-arms imports come from China, with many of these weapons reaching Darfur despite an international embargo on all parties involved in the conflict (AP, August 5). China has also supplied Nanchang A-5 ground attack aircraft (NATO name: Fantan A-5) and training for the pilots. The fighters operate out of the Nyala airbase in Darfur (BBC TV, July 14).

Darfur-Based Rebels Oppose China’s Oil Companies

China’s main opponent in Sudan is Darfur’s Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a skilled guerrilla force capable of mounting long-distance attacks under a leadership drawn mostly from the Zaghawa tribe, which straddles the border between Darfur and Chad.

Last October JEM seized GNPOC facilities at the Defra oil field in South Kordofan as a warning to China to cease its military and political support for Khartoum. Five oil workers were taken hostage with the warning, “Our main targets will be oilfields” (Reuters, October 25; October 29, 2007). A group of JEM rebels tried to seize Chinese facilities at al-Rahaw in South Kordofan in November 2007. JEM claimed to have taken the site but the SAF insisted they were driven off. “Our attack is another attempt at telling Chinese companies to leave the country…We are implementing our threat of attacks against foreign companies, particularly Chinese ones, and we will continue to attack… Our goal is for oil revenues to go back to the Sudanese people and that is a strategic plan of our movement,” said JEM commander Abdul Aziz al-Nur Ashr, the brother-in-law of JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim (AFP, December 11, 2007). Ashr is currently standing trial on charges of terrorism and insurrection in Khartoum after being captured in JEM’s May raid on Omdurman (see Terrorism Monitor, May 15).

In December JEM claimed to have seized part of the Hejlij oilfield after defeating SAF troops (Reuters, December 11, 2007). JEM official Eltahir Abdam Elfaki said the Arab Messiriya tribe had joined JEM in their attacks on Chinese oil operations after becoming angered when they were included in a disarmament campaign (Dow Jones, April 15).

The Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M – not to be confused with the SPLA/M), a mostly Fur Darfur rebel group led by Abdul Wahid al-Nur, has also threatened Chinese oil facilities. In an interview al-Nur told Dow Jones, “Oil companies are gravely mistaken if they think security agreements with the sole government in Khartoum are enough to protect their operations” (Dow Jones, December 8, 2007). In April a JEM official announced JEM “would love” to have Western oil companies replace Chinese firms: “We don’t want China. We want to expel them. We have the means… We are preparing new attacks” (Dow Jones, April 15).

Darfur’s National Redemption Front (NRF) and the SLA/M attacked the Abu Jabra oil field in west Kordofan in November, 2006, causing significant damage to the facilities (Sudan Tribune, November 26, 2006; AP, November 27, 2006). The NRF, drawn mostly from the Zaghawa tribe, has close ties to Chad and normally operates in northern Darfur.

China has supplied a 315 man military engineering team to the United Nations Mission in Darfur peacekeeping force. Last November JEM commander Abdul Aziz al-Nur Ashr stated, “Our position is clear, the Chinese are not here for peace and they must leave immediately… Otherwise, we will consider the Chinese soldiers as part of the government forces and we will act accordingly… China is complicit in the genocide being carried out in Darfur and the Chinese are here to protect their oil interests in Kordofan” (AFP, November 25, 2007).

The discovery of oil in Darfur was first announced by the Sudanese Minister of Energy and Mining in April 2005. China is eager to begin serious exploration in Block 12-A, located in northern Darfur. Discussions on security have been undertaken with Khartoum, which is insisting the SAF first establish secure conditions on the ground before exploration begins. Once established, Chinese oil facilities in the region will be guarded by troops of the SAF (Sudan Tribune, July 9). Saudi and Yemeni companies are also interested in working in Darfur.

Total SA’s Return to the South Sudan

Since Canadian Talisman Energy pulled out under domestic and international pressure in 2002, the oil industry in Sudan has been dominated by Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian interests. Now, however, French oil-giant Total SA is expected to begin drilling in South Sudan’s Block B in October after a 25 year absence (Business Daily [Nairobi], June 26). Total paid $1.5 million per year to retain its license until operations could be resumed (Dow Jones, October 3, 2006). One of Total’s partners in the original 1980 consortium, Houston-based Marathon Oil, was forced to divest a 32.5% stake in the project earlier this year because of American sanctions. Total has already used its annual report to brace shareholders against a possible drop in share value if U.S. investment funds are forced to divest their Total holdings as a result of the sanctions. Total’s operations will be centered around Bor, capital of Jonglei Province, some 600 miles south of Khartoum. According to a Total official, “Our presence should clearly benefit the peoples of southern Sudan who have exited a long war, by helping with peace building, development, human rights, and democracy” (AFP, July 3).

Crisis in Abyei

Much of Sudan’s oil industry is concentrated in the Abyei district, located in the volatile border region between North and South Sudan. Abyei is the traditional home of the Ngok Dinka, a Nilotic group closely related to the Dinka tribes that form the power base for the SPLA/M. It is also, however, a traditional grazing land for the semi-nomadic Messiriya tribe, Baggara (cattle-owning) Arabs who identify with their Arab kinsmen in North Sudan. Under the CPA, the Messiriya retain their grazing rights in Abyei until the region’s status is decided in 2011. In 1905 the Anglo-Egyptian government of Sudan incorporated the territory of nine Ngok Dinka chiefs into Kordofan province, regarded as part of the North Sudan. After independence in 1956, relations between the Ngok Dinka and the Messiriya deteriorated as the tribes lined up with the southern Anyanya rebels and the Khartoum government, respectively, during the 1956-1972 Civil War. When hostilities resumed in 1983, many Ngok Dinka joined the newly-formed SPLA/M, while the Messirya were urged to join the Murahaleen, horse-borne Baggara militias given free rein to raid and loot Southern tribes in the borderlands between north and south Sudan. The Murahaleen became the model for the Janjaweed of Darfur.

Though the CPA established the Abyei Borders Commission as an independent agency responsible for setting the modern borders of Abyei district, their work has been rejected by Khartoum, which insists on maintaining the 1905 borders that would keep most of Abyei’s oil production in northern hands. The CPA calls for a referendum in the district in 2011 that will determine whether the district joins the South Sudan (which will also vote on separation the same year) or remains an administrative district of the North.

Khartoum has been slow to remove its troops, arguing that they are needed to protect oil facilities. Fighting between the Messiriya and the SPLA has been common in the last two years. As insecurity increased the SAF returned to Abyei earlier this year, where they eventually clashed with the SPLA in intense fighting that flattened the town of Abyei in May and threatened to reopen the civil war. At least 30,000 people were displaced by the fighting. Eventually a June 8 “roadmap” was negotiated, calling for the creation of SAF/SPLA “joint integrated units” to restore order in the region (AFP, July 9). UN forces in the region provided transportation and ten days of training (Sudan Tribune, July 5). This did not prevent the SPLA from accusing the SAF of raiding a village six miles north of Abyei in July, a charge the SAF denied (Reuters, July 23).

The Messiriya have had their own disputes with the oil companies – on May 13 Messiriya tribesmen abducted four Indians working with Petro Energy Contracting Services in south Kordofan. Three escaped in June (though one went missing in the bush), while the fourth was released in late July (AFP, July 25).

United Nations forces are present in the region, tasked primarily with supporting the implementation of the CPA. Formed in 2005 with the agreement of the SPLA and NCP, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is a Chapter VII peacekeeping force mostly formed from Asian and African troops and is separate from UNAMID, the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur. UNMIS is deployed in six regions: Bahr al-Ghazal (where Chinese peacekeepers are deployed), Equatoria, Upper White Nile, Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, and Abyei. UNMIS is not mandated to protect oil facilities.

UN civilian staff evacuated Abyei during the May fighting; several hundred mostly Zambian peacekeepers remained but did not intervene despite being authorized as a Chapter VII force to protect civilians (Sudan Tribune, May 15). After coming under criticism, UNMIS explained that the movement of its Zambian troops had been restricted by the SAF (The Monitor [Kampala], June 16). These restrictions were removed after the June 8 “roadmap” agreement.

Improving SPLA Military Capacity

In June the SPLA introduced a White Paper on Defense in the South Sudanese parliament in Juba despite opposition from the Ministry of National Defense in Khartoum, which claims it is a violation of the CPA (Sudan Tribune, June 27; Al-Ahdath, June 26). The White Paper calls for the creation of regular and reserve land forces, a small navy to patrol rivers, and a new South Sudan Air Force (SSAF). Although the SPLA is experiencing difficulties in paying its existing force, the document calls for the purchase of modern weapons and aircraft, obviously with an eye to use oil revenues for arms purchases necessary to secure the South Sudan’s energy resources.

DynCorp, a U.S.-based private security firm best known for a sex-trade scandal in Bosnia, was given a $40 million contract by Washington in 2006 to provide training and telecommunications to the SPLA. According to a DynCorp official, “The US government has decided that a stable military force will create a stable country” (Sudan Tribune, August 12, 2006). DynCorp lost its contract after numerous irregularities and misconduct by two of its advisors in the field was revealed. The contract was turned over to United States Investigative Services (USIS), another private security firm with close ties to the U.S. administration.


The conflict over Abyei is not a promising sign for peace in the region. If the North-South Civil War resumes, the oil industry will have little choice except to abandon their operations as they did in the 1980s. Khartoum is therefore desperate to find oil in the north (including Darfur) before the 2011 referendum. China is experiencing a moderate risk from JEM in its south Kordofan oil operations, but a move into Darfur will be highly risky, inviting attacks from JEM and other militant groups on their home ground. The Darfur rebels are also determined to claim their share of future oil revenues. The belief that all armed movements will eventually be given a share in these revenues as part of a negotiated settlement has led to increasing factionalism amongst the rebels, in turn increasing insecurity and decreasing the possibility of a negotiated peace.

This article first appeared in the August 11, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor


Traitors or POWs? Khartoum Sentences JEM Rebels to Death

Andrew McGregor

August 6, 2008

In recent days thirty fighters from Darfur’s rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have been sentenced to death in special ad-hoc counter-terrorism tribunals created by the Sudanese government. The fighters were taken prisoner during last May’s surprising but ultimately unsuccessful JEM raid on Omdurman. After being sentenced to hang, the JEM guerrillas responded with cries of “In the name of Darfur, God is Great” and “Thanks be to God” (Sudan Tribune, July 31; Reuters, July 31).

JEM PrisonersJEM Prisoners on Trial, Omdurman

If not considered POWs, insurgent prisoners are still entitled under international law to protection from torture, confinement in secret prisons and summary execution. They may, however, be tried for treason and sedition. Sudan (unlike the United States) is a ratified signatory to the 1977 Geneva Convention Additional Protocol 1, in which section 1.4 states POW status must be given to prisoners from “armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination.” While some may argue JEM prisoners meet this definition, JEM, like the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) of southern Sudan, has always styled itself it a “national liberation movement,” rather than a regional separatist movement.

The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) has urged that the JEM prisoners be pardoned. According to Yasir Arman, the SPLM Deputy Secretary General for Northern Sudan, the JEM rebels are clearly prisoners of war (Miraya FM [Khartoum], July 31). In June, the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum (Cabinet Affairs Minister in the Government of National Unity) also called on the government to treat the rebels as prisoners of war (Sudan Tribune, June 23). During its 22 year war with southern rebels, Khartoum routinely explained the absence of SPLA POWs by denying that any rebels had been taken prisoner.

After claiming POW status for its captured fighters, an official JEM statement declared; “Execution of Prisoners of War is a breach of the International Law and considered an act of assassination and another murder in cold blood” (Sudan Tribune, July 29). JEM spokesman Ahmad Hussein promised the movement would retaliate “at the appropriate time and place” (Afrique en Ligne, July 31). Hussein added; “This is a butchery of justice in Sudan and yet another example of [an] impotent judiciary that is under the influence of the executive branch… This proves there is no genuine judiciary in Sudan to prosecute anyone let alone perpetrators of genocide and war crimes” (Sudan Tribune, August 1).

Defense lawyers for the JEM accused, who must mount appeals in the next few days, say that the special courts are unconstitutional. Once the sentences have been ratified by an appeals court, the execution orders must then be signed by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is himself wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes. The question is whether al-Bashir will commute the death sentences to moderate his image, or fall back on his regime’s customary recourse to quick and decisive punishment of those who challenge its authority. With JEM still operating openly in Darfur and threatening another raid on Khartoum, it will be hard for al-Bashir to resist demonstrating the regime’s willingness to ignore international opinion when it comes to matters of internal security.

This article first appeared in the August 6, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus


Pakistan’s Frontier Corps Abandon Colonial-Era Fort to Taliban

Andrew McGregor

August 6, 2008

Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps is pulling out of fortified positions in the Taliban hotbed of South Waziristan, including a 1930s-era colonial fort at Ladha that was the center of heavy fighting last January, when it came under attack by 250 to 300 insurgents in the largest of a series of recent assaults by tribesmen on the stronghold (Pakistan Times, January 12). 20 to 30 militants carrying rockets and small arms were killed in that attack, which was repulsed only through the use of artillery and mortars (PakTribune, January 19). Tribesmen have also made a habit of abducting soldiers stationed at the fort. Rumors are now circulating in the region that the pullback is only a preliminary step in a large-scale offensive by NATO or Pakistan government forces (The News [Islamabad], August 1). The Ladha garrison of several hundred soldiers appears to be relocating to the town of Razmak in Northern Waziristan. Smaller posts in the Saam region of South Waziristan were also being abandoned. Many of these posts were located in areas belonging to the Mahsud tribe, from which local Taliban leader Baitullah Mahsud hails.

Ladha FortFrontier Corps spokesmen cited difficulties in supplying Ladha Fort and a decision to transform the building into a hospital as reasons for pulling out the garrison. The latter reason has left some locals perplexed – a hospital was recently built only ten kilometers away but has never been fitted out with medical equipment or supplies. One elder told journalists that elders from several sections of the Mahsud tribe had been urged by government officials to demand a hospital in Ladha (The News, August 1). Th Frontier Corps Inspector General, Major General Muhammad Alam Khattak, noted that the fort had lost its strategic importance after local people erected housing outside its walls, pointing out that “a tribal jirga (assembly)” had requested the fort be turned into a hospital (Daily Times, August 1). Addressing speculation that the fort was being turned over to the Taliban as part of a negotiated peace settlement with the new government in Islamabad, General Khattak would only say; “The fighting phase is over in this area, and now negotiations are being held with the people” (Gulf News, July 31).

In an optimistic vein, General Khattak suggested it would not matter if the Taliban seized the fort after it was turned into a medical facility, as local tribesmen would then rise up to expel the Taliban (HI Pakistan, July 28). A spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Taliban of Pakistan declared; “We will definitely capture all those posts vacated by the FC in Ladha and Saam” (The News, August 1).

This article first appeared in the August 6, 2008 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus