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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ISLAMABAD12389
2006-06-30 02:25:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

FATA: TALKS AND TRUCES ON THE TABLE IN NORTH

Tags:   PK  PREL  PGOV 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 012389 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2015
TAGS: PK PREL PGOV
SUBJECT: FATA: TALKS AND TRUCES ON THE TABLE IN NORTH
WAZIRISTAN


ISLAMABAD 00012389 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, DSCG 05-01,
January 2005, Edition 1, Reason: 1.4 (B,D)




1. (C) Summary. Militants in North Waziristan on June 25
offered a one-month "cease-fire" on their deadly attacks on
security forces and pro-government elders, if the Government
of Pakistan (GOP) acquiesces on five demands. North
Waziristan tribal elders re-iterated these demands during a
June 27 jirga convened by the GOP's new Political Agent (PA)
(and attended by over 500 tribesmen). A splinter group of
militants perpetrated two deadly attacks on security forces
that killed at least seven soldiers on June 26 and 27 in an
apparent attempt to undercut the cease fire. With the
cease-fire on the table, the GOP finds itself in a tough
position, as it has encouraged negotiation and dialogue to
restore peace. Acceding to the terms offered by militants
will undermine GOP's efforts to seal the border and restore
law and order, but not negotiating at all could bolster the
cause of the militants. The GOP will have to carefully
negotiate a compromise solution that addresses the concerns
of the tribes but still allows room for improved law and
order and border security. Separately, Interior Minister
Sherpao has stressed that any negotiation would not change
the government's posture towards "foreigners" and
cross-border terrorism. End summary.


MILITANTS CALL CEASE FIRE; JIRGA BACKS THEM UP


--------------------------

-


2. (U) On June 25, North Waziristan (NW) militants--who have
been attacking government and military installations and
personnel since December 2005--offered a conditional
one-month cease-fire through "local Taliban" spokesman
Abdullah Farhad. Farhad's truce offer included five demands:

--Dismantling the 25 new checkposts established in recent
months;
--Sending FC and XI Corps troops back to their camps and
reverting to the use of levy forces by July 26;
--A complete pull out of Army troops from FATA within one
month;
--Releasing all militants captured during
military/paramilitary operations since 2004; and
--Re-instating tribal rights that have been revoked under FCR
statutes (re-opening shops in closed markets, re-instating
tribals in government jobs, and paying back-pay to those who
were fired).



3. (U) At the behest of newly appointed NW Political Agent
Fakhr-i Alam Irfan and NWFP Governor Orakzai, over 500 tribal
elders attended the first session of a jirga intended to
restore law and order in the Agency. Tribal
elders--represented by Jamaat-e Ulema-e Islam Fazlur Rahman
(JUI-F) leader Maulana Abdur Rehman--reportedly reiterated
several of the demands made by Taliban spokesman Farhad a day
before. (Note: Per septel, JUI-F's central leadership voiced
opposition to the "Taliban" militants and worried about law

and order in recent conversations with Poloffs. Maulana
Rehman, according to contacts in NW, has a relationship with
the Agency's "Taliban" militants and may be voicing both
JUI-F and Taliban concerns. End Note.)

ATTACKS CONTINUE BUT MILITANTS SAY TRUCE STANDS


--------------------------

--


4. (C) Less than a day after the cease-fire offer, militants
launched two attacks on military installations in NW. After
the first attack--a car bomb at a checkpost outside of Miram
Shah on June 26 that killed seven soldiers and injured
approximately 26 others--militants claiming to be a part of
the local Taliban claimed responsibility. Militant
"spokesman" Farhad immediately called news stations to deny
responsibility, and accused government forces of attempting
to derail the cease-fire. Oddly, Farhad called a BBC

ISLAMABAD 00012389 002.2 OF 002


correspondent a few hours later to change his story; he said
that although one of his fellow militants may have been
responsible, the cease-fire he announced would hold. Farhad
has since continued to defend the attacks, claiming they were
self-defense, and thus allowed under the terms of the
cease-fire. In an attempt to regain control of the ceasefire,
militant leaders distributed a pamphlets in Urdu throughout
NW. An excerpt of the pamphlet, which was passed to us by a
journalist in NW (and translated by our FSN) reads as
follows: "Everyone is informed that the NWA Mujahideen have
announced a one-month truce with GOP...GOP functionaries can
travel freely...maliks and elders can meet with GOP leaders
and should play their role in negotiations between the
Mujahideen and GOP...No Mujahid has the right to roam around
masked on roads...anyone in violation of this announcement
will be dealt with severely."

GOP PROCEEDING CAUTIOUSLY


--------------------------




5. (C) Both Governor Orakzai and the NW political agent have
welcomed the cease-fire as a step in the right direction.
Orakzai on June 26 reiterated to reporters that he would
pursue negotiations with the militants, saying that they were
a part of his overall strategy to reach a compromise with
tribesmen and militants through negotiations. In what has
been called a goodwill gesture by commentators, the North
Waziristan Political Agent released 50 militants who had been
captured during operations in FATA since 2004; the 50 were
declared "innocent". Federal Government officials have been
slow to weigh in publicly, but in a private conversation,
Interior Minister Sherpao stressed that although the
negotiations were taking place, the government would not
compromise on its strict posture against "foreigners" or
allow cross-border terrorism.

COMMENT


--------------------------




6. (C) GOP officials appear to have learned from their
earlier mistake of negotiating with South Waziristan
militants without also negotiating with the tribal elders of
the region. In this round, Orakzai plans to simultaneously
appease tribesmen; if some of the tribal elders' wishes are
met, the militants will have more difficulty buying their
loyalty. Officials involved in the negotiations will have to
strike a delicate balance between pacifying tribesmen and
militants and maintaining the operational capacity to pursue
terrorists and stem cross-border infiltration.
CROCKER