The Mouth That Roared

By Yousafzai, Sami; Moreau, Ron | Newsweek, May 31, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Mouth That Roared


Yousafzai, Sami, Moreau, Ron, Newsweek


Byline: Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau

The failed May 1 Times Square car bombing is rattling the Waziristan tribal badlands of Pakistan. Tribal chieftains and militant leaders are furious with Pakistani Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud and his deputy, master bomb maker Qari Hussain Mehsud, for making Internet videos boasting of responsibility for the attempt and promising more attacks soon. America's Predator drones have been working overtime ever since, killing and wounding dozens of suspected militants. But beyond that, Waziris fear action from Pakistan's military, which was already under extreme U.S. pressure to launch an offensive against militants in the region.

Hoping to lower that risk, tribal and militant heads formed a jirga--a tribal delegation--of roughly a dozen representatives to speak to Hakimullah. According to a Pakistani tribal commander, the jirga met twice with Qari Hussain near the North Waziristan town of Mir Ali. Representatives from some of the region's most important insurgent groups, including the Afghan Taliban, were there: Afghan leader Sirajuddin Haqqani sent a delegate, the tribal commander says, and a South Waziristan subcommander, asking not to be named for safety's sake, confirms that his leader, Mullah Nazir, was represented as well. According to tribal journalist Sailab Mehsud, the jirga was led by Mir Ali-based insurgent heads Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Sadiq Noor.

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