With Operation Mountain Storm underway, it seems that indeed the Taliban and perhaps members of Al-Qaida are leaving the mountains however according
to Afghan officials they are crossing thru Pakistan's assisted by sympathizers. The US military has described the strategy as a "hammer and anvil"
approach, with Pakistani troops moving into tribal areas on their side of the border, and Afghans and American forces sweeping the other side.
Earlier today Rumsfeld downplayed the operation and called it routine.
Taliban fugitives flood across Pakistan's porous border
Palawan and other Afghan security officials say they aren't convinced that offensives will succeed, because Pakistan's security and intelligence
services are rife with Taliban and al-Qaeda sympathizers.
"They are living there, they are coming to do the terror attacks, and they are going back," Palawan said, gun at his side as he drives along the
Pakistani officials scoff at the charges and say they are doing everything they can to arrest Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives.
"This is nonsense," Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in Islamabad. "We are fighting against terrorists, not sheltering
Pakistan can point to an impressive record: It has arrested more than 500 al-Qaeda suspects since the Sept. 11 attacks and it has recently deployed
70,000 troops to the tribal regions of Waziristan.
But Palawan is not alone in his suspicions, and Afghans have not forgotten the strong support Pakistan gave to the former Taliban regime before
Musharraf abandoned them in favor of the US just after the attacks on New York and Washington. Pakistan supplied money, arms and shelter to Islamic
guerrillas, including the Taliban, during the guerrilla campaign in the 1980s against Afghanistan's then-Soviet occupiers.
Related TerrorAnalysis Article:
Rumsfeld Say Not Narrowing Search for Al-Qaeda leader
[Edited on 3-14-2004 by worldwatcher]
[Edited on 16-3-2004 by SkepticOverlord]