"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

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Battle with remote militants pivotal to beating al-Qaeda

From the Taipei Times.

A massive battle with Islamist militants in an obscure Pakistani tribal region is proving to be pivotal to the country’s fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, officials said.

The six-week army operation in the remote region of Bajaur on the Afghan border is suspected to have sparked furious extremists into bombing the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad just over a week ago, they said.

While Waziristan has captured most of the headlines about Pakistan’s tribal belt in recent years, the military says Bajaur is where it faces the stiffest resistance since joining the US-led “war on terror” in 2001.

Why have the Taliban/Al Qaeda put up such a defense in Bajaur?

The rebels cannot afford to lose Bajaur’s strategic location.

To the east is the restive former tourist region of Swat and trouble is flaring south, through the Mohmand tribal area and into the major city of Peshawar.

On the Afghan side is a long frontier with the Taliban hot spot of Kunar Province.

Pakistan's battle into Bajaur is significantly affecting the Taliban/Al Qaeda. They have mandated concription. They have recalled forces from Afghanistan.

The Marriott bombing has only caused Pakistani government and military forces to fight harder and to turn the population more against the Taliban/Al Qaeda. If the Pakistani forces can break defenses in Bajaur, the population may turn in earnest against the Taliban/Al Qaeda. With their defeat in Bajaur, Waziristan becomes the next target.

Let us hope the Pakistani government and military has the fortitude to continue this battle through completion.

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