India-Pakistan: March 25, 2004


Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, released an audio-tape to the media in which he called for Pakistanis to overthrow their government and for soldiers to refuse orders to fight Taliban and al Qaeda members and to get out of the tribal areas. While there are many Islamic radicals in Pakistan, calls like this don't have much impact. The distribution of this tape indicates that the army operations in the northwest are having an impact. 

Tribal elders have withdrawn from talks with trapped al Qaeda fighters in South Waziristan. The 300-400 besieged fighters refused to surrender or make any deal with the government and vowed to fight to the death. Some 5,000 Pakistani troops surround al Qaeda men, with thousands more troops fanning out and searching villages in the area for weapons and more evidence of al Qaeda and Taliban activity.


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