Musharraf Releases Highest Ranking Taliban Ever Captured
Parvez Musharraf needs more militants to militate against in order to affirm the presence of his totalitarian military in Pakistan’s civilian sphere. As I noted in my article Pakistan, Prince of Denmark, this means that Musharraf will ally with pro-Taliban parties, appease militants by offering them the freedom to implement Sharia, kill those tribal leaders who held the Taliban at bay (links all in the article), and now, it appears, he will release the HIGHEST RANKING TALIBAN EVER CAPTURED.
(Emphasis from original linked article.)
This goes well beyond the level of "troubling" and clear through to "What the F***?" territory. Now, I can't speak to the dire predictions made by the blogger regarding Musharraf's intentions and deceptions, but Newsweek seems to confirm that the story lede is accurate.
Pakistani lawyers, human-rights activists and opposition-party members can scarcely ignore the irony of their situation: while thousands of them are being beaten and locked up under President Pervez Musharraf's newly declared state of emergency, his government has just let more than two dozen militant Islamists out of jail. Protesters might be even angrier if Musharraf disclosed the names of some of those freed militants.
Taliban sources tell NEWSWEEK that the top man on the list was Mullah Obaidullah Akhund—the highest-ranking Taliban official ever captured by the Pakistanis. As one of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar's closest confidants and his defense minister until the post 9-11 invasion of Afghanistan, Obaidullah was No. 3 in the group's hierarchy and a member of its ruling 10-man shura (council).
There are, it seems, a few different explanations for this chilling turn of events, but none of them bode well. The Islamists were apparently released as part of a prisoner exchange, but as the Newsweek article goes on to point out, the Taliban seems to have no trouble grabbing prisoners whenever they feel like it, and may see this as an excellent way to win with war without having to launch any frontal assault.
What to do with Musharraf? Seriously... this is the guy we picked as an ally. He was clearly a opportunistic dictator waiting to happen, from his military overthrow of a democratically elected government in 1999 to the "elections" a few years ago which made him president. (And were widely ridiculed in the international community for being rigged.) The man is not stupid, however. In the wake of 9/11 he knew the right things to say to the right people. By promising George W. Bush that he would be an "ally in the war on terror" he bought himself a free pass for pretty much anything.
That free pass may be coming to an end now, though, as I can't imagine the West tolerating this situation forever. The man is sitting on a pile of nukes with plenty of missiles to launch them, (thanks in large part to us) and the country seems to be growing more unstable by the minute. I am certainly not a proponent of getting us into yet another war right now, but even I will admit that we can't hand a few dozen nuke silos over to the Taliban.