TALIBAN BEGIN SPRING OFFENSIVE IN AFGHANISTAN
PAKISTAN IN VIEW AS AL QAEDA ISSUES NEW ORDERS
US TELLS PAKISTAN TO GO TO WAR ON TALIBAN
From the Asian Times : "KARACHI - Across the jihadi world, there is a strong conviction that by the end of this year Taliban leader Mullah Omar will be back in power in Afghanistan, from where he was driven by US-led forces in 2001.
"Realistically, eight months is likely to be too ambitious a time frame for a Taliban victory, if victory is achievable at all.
"Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the Taliban movement is poised to enhance its nuisance level significantly in the United States' strategic back yards in the region - notably Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"Acutely aware of this, the US is leaning heavily on Pakistan, its key ally in the 'War On Terror' in the region, to go on the offensive against the strong Taliban foothold in the North and South Waziristan tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.
"The situation is now dangerously poised. Musharraf, under US pressure, is prepared for an all-out attack on the Taliban and al-Qaeda. At the same time, the military rulers are well aware of the renewed strength of the jihadis, and are extremely reluctant to go for the "final solution" and all it would involve.
"Asia Times Online contacts claim that in this explosive environment, some sort of a compromise deal, as in the past, might be worked out, with both sides agreeing to back off for the time being.
"In such an eventuality, the only winners would be the Taliban and al-Qaeda: they can only go from strength to strength, and they will not give up on their ultimate goal of toppling the administrations in Kabul and Islamabad."
Al Qaeda's Number Two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, recently gave a directive a widely seen broadcast for Pakistanis sympathetic to Al Qaeda and the Taliban to take down President General Pervez Musharraf. Al-Zawahirir called Musharraf "a bribe-taking, treacherous criminal".
Al-Zawahiri has repeatedly called for the Pakistan army to rise up and stage a mutiny against their president.
If you want to get a good idea of what is actually going on in Afghanistan, outside of the US, UK, Australian spin - "we're making good progress" - you might want to read the whole Asia Times story here.