John on September 22, 2006 at 10:57 am
President Bush is meeting this week with President Musharraf of Pakistan. The press is giving lots of attention to a statement made by Musharraf in a yet-to-be-aired interview with 60 minutes. In the interview, Musharraf reportedly says Pakistan was threatened with being “bombed into the stone age” if it failed to cooperate with us after 9/11. The threat reportedly came from Richard Armitage, whose big mouth has been in the news a lot recently.
More interesting than Armitage’s “stone age” comment is this report in the New York Sun about the real purpose of Musharraf’s visit. According to two unnamed sources (one administration and one intelligence) Pakistan has just released 1000 prisoners as part of an agreement with tribal leaders in a place called Waziristan. The story notes:
The problem for the White House is that America does not know which prisoners were released as part of a ceasefire agreement the Pakistani military signed with tribal leaders in the border province of Waziristan. Pakistani officials have yet to share the names with their American counterparts, according to an intelligence official and an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
There is already some indication from local papers that at least two “high-value” operatives were released. But the real bombshell comes at the end of this paragraph:
Two names that have surfaced in the Pakistani press are Ghulam Mustapha, a man American intelligence considers to be a top fixer for Pakistan’s jihadist community, and Fazl Raziq, a Pakistani national thought to be a top aide to Osama bin Laden. Many analysts here believe Mr. bin Laden is hiding in Waziristan.
Do we know where bin Laden is hiding? Is that an unheralded part of Musharraf’s visit?
Mr. Musharraf will be in America until next week. He is scheduled to meet with Mr. Bush and President Karzai of Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Catching OBL would be the ultimate October surprise.
Update 9/23: Two updates actually. First Clinton apparently gave out the same Waziristan intel on NBC’s Today show Thursday. Not so secret then, but it does suggest that he’s hearing the same thing from his own intel sources.
Second, note this story that says on Tuesday of this week US helicopters “intruded” into Waziristan in direct violation of the agreement signed by Musharraf with local warlords. The article says the helicopters were looking to take down drug kingpins. Really? Would they violate Pakistani airspace over drugs? Or is it possible they’re after bigger targets but not yet ready to admit it.
Category: Islamic Jihad |