Pak "truce" leads to more attacks in Afghanistan
American troops on Afghanistan's eastern frontier have seen a tripling of attacks since a truce between the Pakistani army and pro-Taliban tribesmen that was supposed to stop cross-border raids by militants, a U.S. military officer said yesterday.Pakistan is going to have to admit the failure of this "agreement" and get back to the business of defeating the enemy. If it is not willing to do the job, then NATO and Afghanistan should do it.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry rejected the U.S. assertion and said home-based insurgents were behind the violence in Afghanistan, where at least 25 militants were reported killed in fighting yesterday.
Raising further questions about the cease-fire, a Pakistani political leader maintained that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar approved the deal. A government official denied that.
The developments came amid a public feud between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who had dinner last night with President Bush at the White House.
The U.S. officer said the cease-fire that began June 25, cemented by the signing of a peace accord Sept. 5, contributed to the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan. He said ethnic Pashtun insurgents are no longer fighting Pakistani troops and are using Pakistan's North Waziristan border area as a command-and-control hub for attacks in Afghanistan.
Pakistani tribal elders brokered the truce between Gen. Musharraf's government and militants, which ended years of unrest in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
But the agreement appears to have bolstered Taliban infiltrators, with the number of attacks in eastern Afghan provinces rising threefold since July 31, said the U.S. officer, who agreed to discuss the situation only if not quoted by name because of the sensitivity of the issue.
"That's why they had the chance to rest and refit, because they were in a sanctuary," he said, referring to a surge in Taliban attacks over the past several months but without giving specific numbers for incidents before or after the truce.