Jan. 24, 2006 — -- Al Qaeda and its former protectors -- the Taliban -- are in the midst of a powerful resurgence, according to accounts by local officials and information contained in new al Qaeda videotapes obtained by ABC News.
U.S. troops are not permitted inside Pakistan, and the Pakistani army is barely seen in this part of Waziristan Province.
The new videotapes show open recruitment for the jihad, or holy war, to kill Americans and their allies.
The narrator says, "Come join the jihad caravan."
"The Taliban resurgence this year has been enormous and quite extraordinary," said Ahmed Rashid, author of the book "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and the Fundamentalism inCentral Asia."
The tape claims Taliban officials have taken over government functions. There is no date on the tape, but in the last month ABC News reporters have confirmed that Western aid organizations have been forced out, their headquarters burned, schools shut down, teachers and journalists killed, and music banned.
The tape shows men described as thieves being dragged through a village behind a truck, and later beheaded.
"We're seeing a complete breakdown of law and order," said Rashid. "The army is holed up in its barracks or in its bunkers."
A much rosier picture was described at the White House today as President Bush met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, thanking him for all his government is doing.
"We're working closely to defeat the terrorists who would like to harm America and harm Pakistan," Bush said during a news conference.
But there's no sense of defeat seen in a second tape obtained by ABC News, this one produced by al Qaeda.
The tape shows the planning of an attack on a government building across the border in Afghanistan.
The commander is identified as one of the four men who last year escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan -- and are now back in action.
The commander is seen on tape, giving a Powerpoint presentation of how the attack was carried out.
It also shows scenes of fighters firing their automatic weapons and of buildings burning. The fighters seen on tape shout "bin Laden forever! Long live al Qaeda!"
"It has regrouped, reformed and re-emerged with new vigor," said Akbar Ahmed, professor of Islamic studies at American University, "and this is a very dangerous emergence."