Pakistan: Faisal Shahzad and the Pakistani Taliban
Published on May 10, 2010 | 2338 GMT
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said May 9 that the United States has evidence linking the Pakistani Taliban to Faisal Shahzad, the man who confessed to the failed bombing attempt at Times Square in New York City on May 1. Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen who demonstrated a willingness to carry out an attack on U.S. soil. However, his status as a U.S. citizen would have been problematic for the Pakistani Taliban, who must remain wary of potential infiltration from U.S. intelligence. Furthermore, the attempted bombing showed little to no signs that Shahzad had help from an outside group.
The Pakistani army announced Sunday that troops had secured the key Taliban stronghold at Mingora, the district headquarters of Swat in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Security forces also had begun trucking in relief supplies for the 40,000 residents remaining there (the actual population of the town is about 300,000) following the battle. Mingora has sustained significant damage, with most buildings and shops in the town square destroyed, according to the BBC.
The collateral damage underscores the cost of wresting control of the town from the Pashtun jihadists. Significant conventional firepower appears to have been brought to bear. More important, however, is the fact that the Pakistani military’s ability to reclaim the town — while significant — does not mean that the Taliban were defeated. Many jihadists might have been killed in the battle, but a great many are likely to have escaped. Continue reading