The notorious Somali pirates who are engaged in sea robbery in the Horn of Africa and other parts of the Indian Ocean have Muslim "accomplices" in the Khyber Gorge.
It is located in the so-called Tribal Area (PO) between the Pakistan North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Afghanistan. It is also sometimes referred to as the Free Pashtun Tribal Area, but it is officially referred to as the Federally Administered Tribal Area. Formally, this territory is subject to the federal authorities of Pakistan, but here the powers of the police end and Pakistani laws do not apply. Order in the Tribal Area is maintained by Pashtun paramilitary formations of Khasadars (tribal fighters).
All Pashtuns - Afghan and Pakistani, plains and mountain - adhere to the Pashtunwali code of honor, an unwritten set of rules and regulations of customary law. But the most zealous worshippers of this code, along with the Koran, are the mountaineers of the PO, who do not recognize any authorities other than their elders and jirgas, the council of tribal or tribal elders.
The ZP Pashtuns defended their independence in bloody battles with the British Colonial Corps in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the end of the 19th century, the British created a special zone here, in which the mountain Pashtun tribes maintained self-government. When in 1947 Pakistan gained independence, but the Pakistani authorities did not consider it necessary to change this system.
The land of free Pashtun tribes is a product of contradictory historical circumstances - the traditions of freedom-loving mountaineers, the legacy of British colonial policy and the penetration of Islamic extremism ideas and their guides - international terrorists.
By and large, the Pashtuns of the PO were drawn into wars, geopolitical games, and subversive activities of international Islamist terrorists against their will. They don't like the Taliban, because they think they have no sense of self-respect, one of the main precepts of Pashtunwali. Many ZP tribes are opposed to the Taliban. Thus, at the end of December 2009, armed clashes between local militia and the Taliban took place in Orakzai.
An important role in this turn of events was played by the border dispute between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which does not recognize the Durand border line established by the British colonial authorities and claims to transfer the territory of the Tribal Zone under its jurisdiction. Islamabad tried to cut this Gordian knot without much frills, in the style of Alexander the Great-to subdue Kabul. Which he did when the Mujahideen came to power in Afghanistan in 1992, and especially in 1996, when they were ousted by the Taliban nurtured by the Pakistani special services.
The Khyber Gorge is the heart of the Tribal Zone. From the western side, the Khyber Gorge descends steeply into the green valley where Afghanistan begins, from the eastern side - to the foot of the NWFP, where the Taliban movement originated.
In the old days, troops of the ancient Persian king Darius II, Alexander the Great and Muslim conquerors passed through the Khyber Pass from Afghanistan to India. And in the 80s of the XX century. the flow went in the opposite direction - to war with the troops that shortly before the decline of the Soviet Union, its leadership managed to send to Afghanistan. This stream included Afghan Mujahideen, Islamist extremists who flocked from all over the Muslim world, officers of the Pakistani army and special services, and CIA employees.
In the 1990s, the PO and the surrounding areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan became a hotbed of international terrorism, using Islamic banners as a cover. This is where terrorist No. 1 Osama bin Laden was hiding and probably still is hiding (the main argument is whether he took refuge on the Pakistani or Afghan side of the PO).
Having recovered from the defeat in Afghanistan in the early 2000s, since 2005, Daesh and Al-Qaeda militants have increasingly crossed the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to conduct combat operations and commit terrorist attacks. Realizing that without closing these "yawning heights" to terrorists, it is impossible to count on any success in the war with the Afghan Taliban, the United States since the summer of 2008, without the consent of the Pakistani authorities, began systematic bombing of the PO from drones*.
And in May 2009, under pressure from Washington, Islamabad launched a large-scale military operation against the Pakistani Taliban in the Swat Valley in the NWFP and in October 2009-directly in the Tribal Zone, in one of its 7 so - called political agencies-South Waziristan, where some of the Pakistani Taliban defeated in the Swat Valley left. According to the Pakistani authorities, both operations were allegedly completed successfully. Now, Pakistani security forces are fighting the Taliban in the neighboring South Waziristan ZP Orakzai agency.
Islamabad also pursues its own goals - to take control of the PO, go to the border along the line of
* For more information, see: Sergeev V. V. Pakistanskaya splinter / / Asia and Africa Today, 2009, N 6.
Durand and deliver tangible blows to the Pakistani extremists, who are almost constantly destabilizing the situation in the country. Suffice it to mention one fact: in 2009, Pakistan ranked first in the world in terms of the number of terrorist attacks.
On the Afghan side of the PO, in Khost province, as a result of an al-Qaeda suicide attack in December 2009. The CIA suffered the greatest loss of life since the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut in 1983, killing 8 CIA officers who monitored the situation on both sides of the Khyber Gorge and aimed American drones at the target. According to Taliban statements and American press reports, the suicide bomber was a"double agent "whom the CIA was trying to introduce into the entourage of al-Zawahiri, one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda. It seems that the secret war between Al-Qaeda and the CIA has reached a new professional level.
According to the Pentagon, the militants of the Al-Qaeda-linked Afghan terrorist group Sirajuddin Haqqani, who were involved in the terrorist attack against the CIA in Khost province and the attack on the center of Kabul in January 2010, are hiding in a PO in North Waziristan. In a video released in January 2010, a suicide bomber blew up a CIA base in the Prov. Khost also posed with Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban who was elected after the death of his father-in-law Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed by a US drone in August 2009. At the end of January 2010, the Pakistani authorities announced that Hakimullah had suffered the same fate in North Waziristan, but the Taliban denied this information.
However, Islamabad turned a deaf ear to the calls of US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who visited Pakistan in late January 2010, to launch an offensive in North Waziristan against Pakistani and Afghan terrorists. The article by Yu. N. Panichkin, Ph. D. in History, helps to understand the situation in PO - this unique, complex and controversial corner of Asia.
* For more information, see: Belokrenitsky V. Ya. Pakistan - a "failed state"? // Asia and Africa Today, 2009, N 11.
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