Thomas Wictor



In the intelligence world, the term “blowback” has many meanings. For the purpose of this post, I’ll use the definition I learned when I was in high school: Training and equipping people who eventually turn on you.

Today there was a hugely destructive attack on Karachi International Airport. Terrorists armed with automatic rifles, hand grenades, explosive vests, and rocket-propelled grenades killed at least ten people and destroyed airliners and infrastructure. The Pakistanis had to send in the army, police commandos, and special-operations forces known as the Karachi Rangers.


Though only eight to ten terrorists carried out the attack, the fighting continues. Four terrorists are said to have been killed, and large explosions have caused a lot of damage. The suspects are the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistani Taliban.

“Analysts” and pundits like to argue that the Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban are two entirely different forces that should be treated differently. Total nonsense. While the Pakistani Taliban’s main mission is to overthrow the government of Pakistan and establish a Wahhabist dictatorship in its place, and while the Afghan Taliban’s main mission is to overthrow the Afghan government and re-establish a Wahabbist dictatorship in its place, both groups pledge their loyalty to Mullah Omar.

Many current TTP commanders were fighting in Afghanistan in the 1990s, and came to Pakistan only after the Taliban regime they helped bring to power in Kabul was overthrown. In 2001, Sufi Mohammad—later a Swat-based TTP leader and father-in-law of Mullah Fazlullah—led fighters into Afghanistan to battle U.S. troops. Baitullah Mehsud, who preceded Hakimullah Mehsud as TTP leader, worked with Afghan fighters as a low-level Haqqani Network commander before helping found the TTP in 2007. In fact, the TTP’s original reason for declaring war on Islamabad was the latter’s support for the U.S.-led intervention in Afghanistan (the current rationale-the need to overthrow an un-Islamic, pro-democratic, illegitimate Pakistani government-came later).

It’s widely accepted that the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) created the Afghan Taliban and supports them to this day. So they birthed a deadly terrorist organization, invited it home, and then and lost control of it. Classic blowback.


The ongoing ISI backing of the Afghan Taliban is suicidal. If the Afghan Taliban succeeds in overthrowing the Afghan government, there’s no question that the new Taliban government in Afghanistan would then help the Pakistani Taliban’s war against the Pakistani government.

You don’t have to be a genius to make that prediction. The Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are both made up primarily of Pashtuns, and they cooperate on occasion. Both Talibans took credit for the 2009 suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed seven CIA agents, one of the worst losses ever suffered by US intelligence.

The Taliban—whether Afghan or Pakistani—is dedicated to spreading Wahabbist Sunni Islam by force. Pakistani government peace talks with the Taliban recently collapsed, but it seemed that there was a chance for some sort of progress after the main faction of the Pakistani Taliban left the group on May 28.

Tens of thousands of people have died in militant attacks in Pakistan in the last seven years, most of them claimed by the Taliban.

The rift comes after over a month of infighting in which dozens of fighters from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed.

The powerful faction comprising militants from the Mehsud tribe - the core around which regional militant groups initially gravitated to form the TTP - said it was forming its own separate group called Tehrik Taliban South Waziristan.

A spokesman for the new group, Azam Tariq Mehsud, told reporters the decision to part ways with the TTP was made when efforts to persuade the TTP leadership to give up practices which were “contrary to Islam” failed.

“We consider the bombing of public places, extortion and kidnappings un-Islamic, and since the TTP leaders continued with these practices, we decided we should not share the responsibility,” he said.

Analysts, experts, and pundits said that the Mesud defection greatly weakened the Pakistani Taliban—and then came the Karachi airport attack yesterday. Also, the Pakistani Taliban has set up training camps in Syria.

“When our brothers needed our help, we sent hundreds of fighters along with our Arab friends,” one senior commander told Reuters, adding that the group would soon issue videos of what he described as their victories in Syria.

But-but-but the analysts, experts, and pundits said that the Pakistani Taliban was interested only in overthrowing the Pakistani government! They also say that the Afghan Taliban is interested only in taking over Afghanistan. If they do, we’ll have nothing to worry about.

Do you remember how this whole war on Wahabbist terrorism started?


The Afghan Taliban let a guy named Osama bin Laden (rest in piss) set up al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, where he hatched a plan to fly airliners into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the Capitol Building.

What a world. You have fanatics saying in plain language, “You have to convert to our religion or we’ll kill you,” and they’re doing everything they can to follow through on that threat, yet both the people who set them in motion and the people fighting them respond with, “Well, I think we can talk this out.”

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