Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 3 Issue: 42


Early Monday morning, the Pakistani army launched an air attack on a madrassa in Bajaur Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The attack, which destroyed a madrassa compound in the village of Chingai, killed an estimated 80 people, the majority of which are believed to have been tribal militants (al-Jazeera, October 30). A number of high-level al-Qaeda-linked tribal militants were apparently targeted in the attack, and at least one was confirmed killed. This individual was Maulana Liaqatullah, a local religious leader that owned the destroyed madrassa (al-Jazeera, October 30). Liaqatullah was a deputy of Faqir Mohammed, who apparently left the madrassa just 30 minutes before the attack. Faqir Mohammed, the leader of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, has been wanted by the government since May 2005 as a result of his links with Taliban militancy and with al-Qaeda (Terrorism Monitor, February 9). Shortly after the attack, Mohammad openly spoke to a crowd of 10,000 mourners at one of the funerals denouncing the United States and the Pakistani government, stating that: “We were peaceful, but the government attacked and killed our innocent people on orders from America. It is an open aggression” (al-Jazeera, October 30). The attack is significant since on Monday the government was expected to sign a peace deal with tribal leaders in Bajaur Agency that would involve Faqir Mohammed and the now-deceased Maulana Liaqatullah (Gulf Times, October 23). The government also released a number of Faqir Mohammed’s imprisoned relatives last week.


In the weeks since the Pakistani government signed a peace deal with tribal leaders in North Waziristan on September 5, the Taliban have expanded and boosted their control over Miran Shah and the surrounding areas in North Waziristan. Taliban leaders have begun instituting penalties and taxes in the agency, and the local Taliban Shura led by Maulvi Abdul Wahid has distributed literature announcing the enforcement of Sharia and outlining penalties for minor offenses such as theft (Dawn, October 23). The Taliban Shura also issued a “tax schedule.” According to the document, six- and 10-wheeler trucks entering North Waziristan must pay a fee for road access; gas station owners are also taxed twice annually (Dawn, October 23). The government’s decision to enter into a peace deal with tribal leaders in North Waziristan reflected its interest in limiting attacks against government interests, while allowing more autonomy for tribal elements in the agency.