Remember that Osama Bin Laden guy? Wondering how that whole War on Terror business is going?
Apparently, our close ally Pakistan is trying a new tactic: giving money to Al Qaeda.
Pakistan says it has paid 32m rupees ($540,000) to help four former wanted tribal militants in South Waziristan settle debts with al-Qaeda
Military operations chief in the region, Lt Gen Safdar Hussain, said the payments were part of a peace deal signed on Monday with tribesmen.
It is the first time Pakistan has admitted making such payments.
(First time admitting it?! Does that mean there have been other payoffs that were kept quiet?)
The South Asia Tribune is more pointed than the BBC:
[The] Pakistan Army has publicly admitted paying Al Qaeda over half a million dollars in the most bizarre deal it has ever made with militant Waziristan fighters, [who have been] battling the Army and the US forces in the rugged terrain bordering Afghanistan for months
General Hussain said the the payments were part of a peace deal signed on Monday with tribesmen, but the public admission that money had been paid to be transferred to Al Qaeda stunned analysts and diplomatic observers in Islamabad.
Also, Pakistans Daily Times had reported earlier that the ceremony for this peace deal was marked by Taliban militants shouting Death to America
The Daily Times editorial board was critical of the deal:
It sounded very much like the peace ceremony last year with Nek Muhammad, the Wazir Taliban commander with Al Qaeda connections
…But where is the honour of the government of Pakistan and how has it redeemed it in the long drawn out war with Al Qaeda in the Tribal Areas?
The deal with Nek Muhammad fell through before the ink was dry on it and the man had finally to be killed with a missile, but not before he became a hero of sorts despite his not so honourable personal profile in the area where he operated.
So, you can see why Dubya said just a few weeks ago that:
[The] Pakistan government has been aggressive in pursuit of al Qaeda targets in Waziristan.
And I appreciate the work of President Musharraf.
He came the other day, on a Saturday morning to the White House and it was an opportunity to thank him once again for some of the bold steps he’s taken.
If this wasnt ridiculous enough, it gets worse.
While four wanted militants accepted the payoff, a fifth rejected it, Abdullah Mehsud. The South Asia Tribune called him the main militant rebel.
The “main militant rebel” was actually in custody at Gitmo for two years. He was released last year.
According to NBC News, Its unclear whether Mehsud was a hardcore militant who tricked the US into releasing him, or if he was radicalized at Gitmo and became hardcore upon release.
So in recent days, we have our main War on Terror ally paying off Al Qaeda, while being snubbed by a former prisoner.
We have North Korea getting nukes while we sat idly by.
We have a newly revealed Richard Clarke memo, showing that Condi lied when she said no Al Qaeda threat was turned over to the new administration
But leaving aside all that, the War on Terror is going just fine. We got ‘em on the run.