The Associated Press is reporting an outpouring of support for al Qaeda in Pakistan, and, in particular, for Osama bin Laden as a result of America’s attack on al Qaeda operatives over a week ago:
“Sympathy for al-Qaida has surged after a U.S. airstrike devastated this remote mountain hamlet in a region sometimes as hostile toward the Pakistani government as it is to the United States.
“A week after the attack, villagers insist no members of the terror network were anywhere near the border village when it was hit. But thousands of protesters flooded a nearby town chanting, ‘Long live Osama bin Laden!’"
The article continued:
“‘This attack has increased our hatred for Americans because they are killing innocent women and children,’ said Zakir Ullah, one of 5,000 demonstrators in Inayat Qala, a market town about three miles from Damadola. “‘We support jihad (holy war). Jihad is the duty of every Muslim,’ he said.”
However, one has to get deep into this article to find the truth, namely, that this is and has been a pro-Taliban part of Pakistan for quite some time:
“Outrage at the United States and at the government of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf for backing Washington's war on terrorism has reached its highest pitch since the U.S. ousted Afghanistan's Taliban regime after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on America.
“Back then, a local cleric in Bajur, the region surrounding Damadola, rallied 8,000 villagers to fight with the Taliban against U.S.-led forces.
“Bajur and Afghanistan's neighboring Kunar region have since served as hideouts because of their rugged mountains — and the sympathies of residents. Many are Pashtuns, the same ethnic group as the Taliban.”
I guess it wouldn’t have been as interesting an article if it had lead with this minor fact. And, the headline would certainly have been less enticing if it read “Sympathy For Al-Qaeda Surges in Pro-Taliban Part of Pakistan.”