Thursday, June 29, 2006

Baluchistan and al-Qaeda

My knowledge of Baluchistan is all but non-existent; however, this week the Jamestown Foundation has run articles on Baluchi militants in both Pakistan and Iran. Both governments allege al-Qaeda involvement, but the only evidence in the articles is the fact some people were arrested while crossing Pakistani Baluchistan to reach Waziristan and join the anti-government insurgency there which al-Qaeda and probably the Taliban are spearheading. That doesn't sound convincing, as Baluchistan is the shortest overland route to Waziristan that's outside government control, and militants thrive on loosely governed or restive areas. At the same time, however, outside involve can't be ruled out as quickly as the articles seem to. Pakistan in particular seems like it has many strands of Baluchi militancy, and it would be just like al-Qaeda to start involving itself with a nationalist movement against a common enemy. International jihadist networks may not have made serious inroads, but this close to the Durand Line people are right to be watchful for their presence.


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