The lawless territories of the north western Pakistan territory of Waziristan provide not only haven for cross border guerrilla and terror attacks into the still failed state of Afghanistan but a foundation for what is quickly becoming a state within a state. From AsiaMedia:
Miramshah --- The local Taliban Shoora on Monday imposed a ban on sale of CDs and cassettes and music in buses and passenger coaches in North Waziristan.
The Shoora also ordered owners of music and video shops in Miramshah to wind up their businesses immediately.
Armed volunteers raided music centres and CD shops in the town and asked the shopkeepers to stop playing music.
Eyewitnesses said the militants stopped passenger vehicles on the Miramshah-Mirali road and removed cassette and CD players.
Locals said that the militants, who virtually control the region, also asked people not to play or listen to music at public places, including Miramshah Bazaar.
The Shoora announcement said that anybody violating the order would have to face 'consequences'.
Anwarullah Khan adds from Khar in Bajaur Agency: Most music shops and hair-cutting salons here have been closed and their owners have switched to other businesses.
Some of them moved out of the agency after pro-Taliban militants bombed their shops over the past weeks.
Last week, armed men set up road blocks in different areas and stopped private and public transport vehicles to search for cassette and CD players.
They seized cassettes and players from several vehicles and smashed them on the spot. Masked gunmen also warned clean-shaven commuters to grow beard or face punishment.
They also ordered passengers to remove musical ring tones from their cell phones and not to use mobile phones with built-in camera.
According to residents, car-owners and drivers of public transport vehicles have removed cassette and CD players from their vehicles ad owners of music shops in Khar town, Inayat Kallay Bazaar, Siddiqabad, Nawagai, Raghgan, Lagharai, Loi Sam, Pashat and other areas have closed the business and opened vegetable shops and general stores.
They said that the board of governors of the Bajaur Public School and College, an English medium institution run by the political administration, had changed students' uniform from shirt and trousers to shalwar-kameez after they received threats and 'orders' to stop using 'western uniform.'
Waziristan seems to be moving well beyond that of Rick Francona's vision of the "Cambodia effect" and into a mini counter-state. The Taliban hasn't limited their vision to mere guerrilla training and cross border offensive, rather they seem intent on establishing a presence that speaks not of exile but of a robust resurgence in social and governmental dominance.
Compounding this is General Musharraf's headlong tumble from regional ally to regional liability in light of both his failed (especially in light of NATO efforts in Afghanistan) September Waziristan peace accord and the massive disorder in light of his more recent suspension of Judge Iftikhar Chaudry.
The US led NATO initiative in Afghanistan finds itself at a critical, perhaps impossible crossroads. Continue to fight the Taliban's hydra heads in Afghanistan and preserve a likely failed, if friendly, dictatorship or throw Musharraf to the wolves, engage the Taliban at their source and risk an unstable, even fractured nuke state.