| GEO Pakistan|
| Plan to divide Taliban, Qaeda likely to fail|
| Updated at: 0349 PST, Wednesday, November 05, 2008|
ISLAMABAD: "With senior U.S. military and civilian officials engaged in hectic consultations with Pakistani authorities on new American plan to alienate Taliban from al-Qaeda, Pakistan’s security circles fear that this strategy could fail and resultantly further destabilize the country.
General David Petraeus, new chief of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), who concluded his two-day visit to Pakistan on Tuesday, discussed in detail with Pakistani leaders, the US plan of turning the tribesmen living on both the sides of Afghan border against the al-Qaeda and also to reach out to ‘moderate’ militants in the ranks of Taliban.
General Petraeus is given credit by the Bush administration for saving the United States from defeat in Iraq by successfully applying the same plan against al-Qaeda with the help of Iraqi tribesmen. An official here seeking anonymity said that at present the new US plan was in the initial phase of implementation in Bajaur Agency and in some other tribal areas of Pakistan whereas Taliban were also being contacted by the Afghan authorities in their territory.
“However, the security circles here are not sure about the success of Petraeus plan because they believe that Iraqi conditions are totally different from those in Pakistan and Iraq,” he said.
First of all, he said al-Qaeda was a new phenomenon in Iraq but in South Asia, it had been operating for decades now.
“As a result of close interaction spanning over years with local tribesmen and especially the Taliban, the al-Qaeda militants have been able to forge close ties with them and hence it is not easy to divide them,” the official said.
He said that porous Afghan border was another main reason for the likely failure of the US plan as the al-Qaeda and hardcore Taliban militants could easily shift their locations in case they felt any threat from the local tribesmen on both the sides of the frontier.
Moreover, he said that influential Taliban commanders like Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Siraj Haqqani, who were once considered to be Pakistani assets, were now more close to al-Qaeda leadership and it would be a daunting task to break that bond and union.