"As the convoy began to ascend the pass, it split into three, protected by just 10 armed guards from the local tribal police. Just before 11am, 15 Taliban fighters armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers stepped in front of the lead driver as he reached Tedi Bazaar. The driver and guards surrendered.
A few miles away at the market towns of Jamrud and Sur Kamar, the remaining sections of the convoy were hijacked.
The lorries loaded with grain were driven to two other towns where Taliban fighters used loudspeakers to invite locals to buy it at knockdown prices.
Eyewitnesses said the militants were welcomed because the grain was being sold for a quarter of its normal price. "
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Bajaur war, insurgents hungry for the fight and NATO-Russia relations, all in one post
Of course, the big question of the day (and the following days and weeks and months) will be how much the Pakistani Army's escort of supply convoys in the Khyber, twice per day as currently planned, will divert energies from proceeding with the Bajaur war.
But, meanwhile, take your time to wonder about the motivations of the local actors raiding the supply convoys. Of course everything is political, but meanwhile all that seems political is also of an economic nature, too. Anyway, just being ironic here, don't get bogged down with the conceptual mess I've just heaped on this post here.
Here is the London Times' account of the great Khyber raid of last week, at the end of which we were treated to the rare sight of Taliban militants driving away in/on Humvees.
So, take note: people involved in insurgent activities, and their relatives in the nearby villages, want to eat. That means they are highly motivated.
In other news, Russia is saying again that it is ready to cooperate with NATO on issues of common concern. The Russian ISAF supply lines could become a reality, but still Central Asian states have to be convinced, at this stage (and obviously Russia could do some of that convincing). Nothing should go south in the meantime, however, keep our fingers crossed. NATO-Russia relations are not all unperturbed fun these days.