Update 4: Two accounts in the National Geographic. Minor details differ (for example Sher Khan is now saying he did tell them he is Ismaili). The Chinese climber who escaped has also related his story (see below for link). The cold blooded evil of the act continues to shock (and no, I dont think drone operators do the same thing).
Update 3: So it seems the problem in Kohistan is this: the people included a healthy dose of Sunni fanatics in any case, then the state in its infinite wisdom set up some jihad factories there and trained ppl in alpine warfare (OK, dont take this literally..not alpine warfare, just warfare with some mountain fighting hints thrown in to help in Pir Panjal) and controlled demolition and now those people are hard to take on (of course jihadi faction of the state doesnt WANT to take them on, but we assume there IS another faction). They are located around the KKH, which is our crucial link with taller than Himalayas friend China. Now some of those fanatics (“bad taliban”, sit, sit, stay!) have gone and killed 10 climbers and a poor Shia cook. The Shia cook, of course, is no big deal to our strategic geniuses. The climbers from Ukraine and Lithuania we can manage (we hardly buy anything from Lithuania and the Ukrainian corrupt regime will still sell us tanks once money passes hands, so no big deal) but the boys have also killed 2 chinese and one chinese-american. What to do? IF we crack down hard, the jihadi brothers will set the KKH ablaze. If we dont, China may be upset.
So we will split the difference: A few lower level killers will be killed in encounters or arrested and kept in comfort while their families get stipends..it all depends on how hard the Jirga negotiates on their behalf…but no higher level planners/leaders will be targeted. In return the killers friends will carry out a few symbolic bombings, may be focus on Shias so the outrage is limited. They all know the script by now.
But what about the Chinese? Well, a few Uighurs will have to be found and shipped back to the motherland. There is no alternative. Allah be praised, we may sneak out of this one too.
Until the next outrage.
I do hope I am wrong, but this is inspired by friend Waqas and his comment below (http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/06/25/night-on-bald-mountain-the-nanga-parbat-massacre/#comment-69072). I think both of us will be happy to be proved wrong. But we are not betting on it.
Meanwhile the Chinese who survived has spoken about his ordeal.
Update 2: The local police chief says the attackers are still in the mountains, but not arrested yet. http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=107030
This is usually code for “we are negotiating with their bosses”. Mostly likely a deal will be reached, low-level attackers will be arrested. LEJ honchos in the area will promise not to attack more climbers in exchange for XYZ concessions. Attackers will be well treated in prision (no routine torture). Eventually the courts may set them free since no on will turn up to give evidence..or the judge will magically die.
If experts think it will be different this time, please enlighten..
Update 1: contrary to what my friend had heard from Sher Khan (see below), Ali Hussain, the poor cook who got shot alongside our foreign guests in Diamir base camp, really was a Shia. So the Taliban guessed right when they looked at his name and shot him thinking “hey, this looks like a SHIA name”. Details here (in Urdu) http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2013/06/130626_pakistani_porter_murder_sh.shtml
Thousands like him will lose their livelihood now.
btw, as noted below by various commentators, the local Sunni fanatic faction in Kohistan is hostile to climbers and tourists in general. They are not the ones losing their livelihood. In fact, since the finest intel agency in the world trained them in Alpine warfare, THEIR livelihood is more dependent on a different kind of foreigner (the sort willing to pay protection money, employ “non-state actors” or otherwise contribute to the cause, willingly or unwillingly).
btw, contrary to all Paknationalist conspiracy bullcrap, the local police chief claims to know the terrorists and none are foreigners.
On June 23rd some 15-20 men dressed in the uniforms of the Gilgit Scouts climbed up to the base camp at the foot of the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat. There, at the height of 13000 feet above sea level, they pulled climbers, guides, porters and cooks out of their tents, smashed their phones, laptops and solar panels and put them in two groups. The locals were in one group, the foreigners were lined up on the other side. Then they shot all the foreign climbers in the back of the head. Since exit wounds are bigger than entry wounds and exit wounds were in the face, some of the foreigners are said to be hard to recognize. Looking at ID cards, they also shot a local cook whose name was Ali Hassan. If they had asked him, he might have told them that he was a Sunni, just happened to have a “Shia-sounding” name. But unfortunately the resistance-fighters (thank you Tariq Ali) didnt bother to ask. Another local who told this story to a friend survived because his name is Sher Khan. He is Ismaili. Luckily for him, they just looked at ID cards. He survived because his name doesnt sound Shia.
It takes a day to climb to the base camp. The area is fairly remote. Adventurous tourists and climbers do go there, but its still the kind of place where everyone knows who has just passed by and why. Yet 15-20 killers made the climb, carried out a massacre and disappeared. And have not been seen since.