Al-Qaeda and the Taliban intended the Red Mosque confrontation to be a symbolic trigger to restart their war against the Pakistan Government.
The Pakistanis responded and assaulted the Red Mosque, leaving over one hundred dead, including the radical scholar Abdul Rashid Ghazi.
The Red Mosque has been forcing a confrontation for some time.
For months clerics and students had been defying the authorities in their campaign for Sharia law in the capital. Students had kidnapped police as well as Islamabad residents they considered to be engaged in un-Islamic activity.
These religious gangs irritated the population and casted doubt on the capability of the government to contain extremism. These gangs from the Red Mosque attacked and kidnapped five Chinese nationals. This prompted China’s demand for Pakistan to intervene.
Musharraf promises he will crack down on fanatics following the assault on the Red Mosque.
Al-Qaeda played a role in the Red Mosque siege. AQ may have encouraged the fight as a trigger for their war against Pakistan.
Government sources said up to 18 foreign fighters, including Uzbeks, Egyptians and several Afghans, had arrived weeks before the final shootout and set up firing ranges to teach students, including children, how to handle weapons.
Al-Qaeda has wanted to open a Pakistan front in its global jihad since President Pervez Musharraf sided with America after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Diplomats were surprised by the speed with which the fugitive Zawahiri condemned the raid and called on Pakistanis to rise up against Musharraf.
Pakistan moved 12,000 soldiers near the Wajiristan area and there are rumors that Musharraf will permit NATO attacks against Taliban positions in Pakistan.
The Tribes in Wajiristan withdrew from the ceasefire treaty. This effectively means the Taliban declared war on Pakistan.
Musharraf made a speech recently to appealing to the more secular urban population.
“Unfortunately we have been up against our own people… they had strayed from the right path and become susceptible to terrorism.”
“What do we want as a nation want?” President Musharraf asked. “What kind of Islam do these people represent?”
“In the garb of Islamic teaching they have been training for terrorism… they prepared the madrassa as a fortress for war and housed other terrorists in there.
“I will not allow any madrassa to be used for extremism.”
The Taliban used suicide attacks against the Pakistani Army in the past two days. The war will pick where it left off in September.