Pakistan’s beleaguered president, Pervez Musharraf, has made it clear that the U.S. is not welcome in the Pakastani tribal regions to continue the fight against Al-Qaida. Bush had been considering expanding the authority of the CIA and U.S. military to launch aggressive covert operations in tribal regions along the Pakistan-Afghan border which has long been considered a hiding place for Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The regions are also home to Taliban militants planning attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Photo Credit: CNN
Musharraf said every tribe in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has its own armory, and they don’t like intrusions into their privacy at all. The FATA is an area encompassing about 10, 700 square miles where the Pakistan government controls only nominally by working through a combination of effective Political Agents and tribal elders.
The Tribes are governed by the Frontier Crimes Regulation introduced under the British Raj and are represented both in Pakistan’s lower house and in its upper house of parliament. Years of isolation coupled with high illiteracy rates, scarcity of water, no banking system, and little health care have left the area lagging behind socially and economically.