While maintaining that it has no intention of sending troops to Pakistan, the U.S. continues its war in the shadows of Pakistan’s tribal areas. By eliminating the insurgents who take advantage of these sanctuaries to launch attacks against NATO in Afghanistan, Washington aims indirectly at the Pakistani military establishment that supports them, seeing them as “good Taliban.” Clearly, terrorists do not threaten Pakistan — regardless of whether they are linked to al-Qaida, as the five Taliban commanders who were killed on Thursday in the shooting of a U.S. drone in South Waziristan were. They were struck down in their car by four missiles fired from an unmanned aircraft from Afghanistan.

All were employed by Mullah Nazir, a protégé of the Pakistani army. The attack notably killed Omar Nazir, the youngest brother of Mullah. He led the group's operations in Afghanistan, said Pakistani officials. “Mullah Nazir has openly supported Taliban emir Mullah Omar and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden,” said The Long War Journal, an American site specializing in terrorism. In the summer of 2009, the Pakistani military had signed a "peace agreement" with Nazir, under which he promised to no longer shelter members of al-Qaida or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, Pakistani Taliban). The latter had established their headquarters in South Waziristan.

Cracking down on Islamic militants

In October of that year, already under U.S. pressure, Islamabad launched a major operation against the TTP in the tribal areas. But according TLWJ, they “left Nazir's areas untouched. Nazir has continued to allow the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, al-Qaida, and other terror groups safe haven in his tribal areas.”

The death of Mullah Nazir’s group of followers comes nearly a week after the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Kabul and Islamabad. In Pakistan, Clinton offered the carrot and wielded the stick, asking Islamabad to crack down on Islamic militants while ensuring the Pakistanis that they were the only ones capable of encouraging negotiations with these same militants. Pakistan is inescapable; Washington knows that too well.