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Friday, April 03, 2009

Syed Saleem Shahzad: US strikes at Taliban's nerve center

Orakzai is important for another reason. The Taliban chose it as a base from where to send fighters into Khyber Agency to attack NATO supply convoys. The Taliban don't have roots in Khyber Agency, where the people are mostly traders and being Sufi are not religiously like-minded with the Taliban, so the militants have been unable to set up bases.

The high-profile people who have been kidnapped by militants in Peshawar, capital of North-West Frontier Province, or from Khyber Agency, were immediately shifted to Orakzai, and then passed on to South Waziristan.

Wednesday's attack is a warning shot for the Taliban. If Khyber Agency is termed NATO's lifeline, through which 80% of its supplies pass, Orakzai is a lifeline for the Taliban's regional operations.

The Taliban understandably reacted angrily, "If any more drone attacks are carried out on Orakzai Agency, we will not spare any place in Pakistan. We will attack public gatherings, political meetings of any sort and government buildings," Abdul Hakeem Mehsud said in statement to the Pakistani media.


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