Pakistan's Latest Offensive in South Waziristan (Rah-i-Nijat) - News & Discussion

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Flint, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pakistan bombs region once declared Taliban-freeBy HABIB KHAN (AP) – 3 hours ago

    KHAR, Pakistan — Pakistani fighter jets bombed suspected militant hide-outs Monday in a tribal region where the military had previously declared victory over the Taliban, killing 13 alleged extremists a day after the end of a deadly siege of the army's headquarters.

    A series of attacks over the past week shows that the Taliban have rebounded and appear determined to shake the nation's resolve as the military plans for an offensive in South Waziristan, the insurgents' main stronghold along the Afghan border that has never been fully under the government's control.

    Monday's airstrikes were in Bajur, a separate segment of the lawless northwestern tribal belt where Pakistan waged an intense six-month offensive that wound down in February. Resurgent violence in Bajur could distract the military as it tries to focus on South Waziristan.

    "This was a heavy spell of bombing," said local government official Tahir Khan, who put the death toll at 13. Nine other alleged militants were wounded, he said.

    Also in Bajur on Monday, a remote-controlled bomb went off in front of the political administration office in the main city of Khar, wounding a passer-by. In addition, militants were suspected of abducting 10 tribal elders after they attended a meeting aimed at forming a citizens' militia to protect against the Taliban, said Faramosh Khan, another local official.

    The 22-hour weekend standoff at Pakistan's "Pentagon" in the city of Rawalpindi followed warnings from police as early as July that militants from western border areas were joining those in the central Punjab province in plans for a bold attack on army headquarters.

    A team of 10 gunmen in fatigues launched the frontal assault on the very core of the nuclear-armed country's most powerful institution. The violence killed 20, including three hostages and nine militants, while 42 hostages were freed, the military said.

    The suspected ringleader in the raid, known as Aqeel, also was believed to have orchestrated an ambush on Sri Lanka's visiting cricket team in Lahore this year. Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the militant's nickname, "Dr. Usman," derived from the time he spent as a guard at an army nursing school before he joined the insurgents.

    The U.S. has long pushed Islamabad to take more action against Taliban and al-Qaida militants, who are also blamed for attacks on U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, and the army carried out a successful campaign against the militants in the northwestern Swat Valley in the spring.

    But the army had been unwilling to go all-out in the lawless tribal areas along the border that serve as the Taliban's main refuge. Three offensives into South Waziristan since 2001 ended in failure, and the government signed peace deals with the militants.

    In the wake of the seige in Rawalpindi, the government said it would not be deterred. The military launched two airstrikes Sunday evening on suspected militant targets in South Waziristan, killing at least five insurgents and ending a five-day lull in attacks there, intelligence officials said.

    "We are going to attack the terrorists, the miscreants over there who are disturbing the state and damaging the peace," Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said. "Wherever they will be, we will follow them. We will pursue them. We will take them to task."

    Officials have warned that Taliban fighters close to the border, Punjabi militants spread out across the country and foreign al-Qaida operatives were increasingly joining forces, dramatically increasing the dangers to Pakistan.

    The weekend strike on army headquarters was a stunning finale to a week of attacks that highlighted the militants' ability to strike a range of targets.

    On Monday of last week, a suicide bomber dressed as a paramilitary police officer blew himself up inside a heavily guarded U.N. aid agency in the heart of the capital, Islamabad. On Friday, a suspected militant detonated an explosives-laden car in the middle of a busy market in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing 53 people.

    Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
     
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  3. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ground Offensive Appears Imminent After Attack On Pakistani Military Base

    By Abubakar Siddique
    The Tehrek-e Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement in Pakistan) has claimed responsibility for a brazen weekend attack on the Pakistan Army's headquarters, which followed a string of bombings conducted by the group over the past two weeks.

    "It was carried out by our Punjab unit," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said in telephone calls to Pakistani and international media. "We will take revenge for our martyrs and will carry out more attacks, whether it's the GHQ [army General Headquarters] or something bigger," he said.

    But if revenging the deaths of militants and ending a government offensive launched this summer in Pakistan's restive western provinces is the goal of the Pakistani Taliban's recent attacks, the government appears equally committed to continuing its effort.

    Pakistani officials claim that 26 militants have been killed so far in air strikes that began against militant targets in Bajaur and South Waziristan tribal regions on October 11. The aerial assault is believed by many to be only the beginning of what will become a large-scale ground offensive.

    Pakistani military spokesman General Athar Abbas spoke to journalists on October 12 in Rawalpindi, the northern garrison city where militants dressed in military uniforms stormed the military's main headquarters on October 10. In the course of the 20-hour standoff, 12 Pakistani soldiers, four civilians, two senior officers, and nine of the 10 militants were killed.

    Abbas explained that in the wake of the brazen attack, the government plans to launch an offensive into South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold..

    "The government has taken a principled decision that this organization is responsible for more than 80 percent of all the attacks -- suicide attacks and acts of terrorism in our country," Abbas said. "They have taken a principled decision that there will be operation in this area, but it's now a matter of military judgment [about] what is the appropriate time."

    Long-Term Approach Needed


    Pakistanis were stunned by the attack on the military headquarters, which took place in what was considered to be one of the most secure sites in the country. Their fears were stoked further after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a military convoy on October 12 in northwest Pakistan that killed at least 41 people. That attack occurred in the remote town of Alpuri on the edge of the Swat Valley, the region where the government launched its recent effort against Taliban militants in late April.

    Observers suggest that new military operations are not likely to resolve Pakistan's security problems, pointing to the history of such offensives, which often simply result in scattering militant elements to other areas of country.

    Pakistani academic, commentator, and peace activist Abdul Hameed Nayyar says a much broader, long-term approach must be taken.

    "People in Pakistan have been saying these things openly now for some time that this fight is not going to be easy, nor is it going to be short," Nayyar says. "It is going to be a very long struggle and it is going to be very difficult, and it will require addressing a number of questions rather than going linearly against some suspected hideouts of people."

    Nayyar suggests that the Pakistani military has to act in a systematic and well-thought-out manner. The first step, he says, should be to determine the source of funding and arms for the militants.

    "The militants are not confined to the tribal areas alone. The militants are to be found in South Punjab, in Karachi, in the [southern province of] Sindh, and in many cities of the [eastern] Punjab province and in Islamabad," Nayyar says. "They have widespread support among a section of the population. And the support is in the form of those people who provide them logistical help when they need it."
     
  4. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pakistan vows offensive after bomb kills 49

    Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the militants had left the government "no other option" but to hit back. "We will have to proceed," he told a local television station. "All roads are leading to South Waziristan."
     
  5. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Waziristan operation to begin in a few days’

    * Rehman Malik says terrorists want to disrupt peace and progress of the country

    By Tahir Niaz

    ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday informed the Senate that the military operation against terrorists in South Waziristan Agency would begin in a few days.

    “We have to start the operation against them [Taliban] in the next few days in South Waziristan,” Malik said while replying on a point of order by Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel regarding the Peshawar blast.

    Malik said following the success of the army’s operation in Swat and Malakand, people in other troubled areas were also demanding the government launch similar operations in their areas against anti-state elements. Malik praised the country’s armed forces for dismantling the terror network in Swat and its adjoining areas.

    He condemned the bomb explosion in Peshawar’s Khyber Bazaar and sympathised with bereaved families.

    The interior minister said the terrorists wanted to disrupt peace and progress of the country, but the government was resolved to eliminate terrorism and extremism in all its forms.

    He said the government would utilise all resources to rid the country of the Taliban, who he said were trying to regroup after their defeat in Malakand.

    He said, “The coalition government in the NWFP is efficiently handling the situation and if they need any assistance from the federal government, we are ready to provide it to them.”

    He said the government would not allow the Taliban to challenge the writ of the state, adding that the terrorists were being funded and provided weapons from a “foreign country”.

    Earlier, Senators Zahid Khan and Ilyas Bilour demanded the government immediately launch an operation against terrorists in Dara Adam Khel and Bara who were involved in the recent blasts in Peshawar and other parts of the NWFP.
     
  6. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pentagon ramps up direct military aid to Pakistan
    Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:22pm EDT

    By Adam Entous

    WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The Pentagon is ramping up delivery of military equipment long sought by the Pakistani army to fight militants, U.S. officials said on Friday.

    Some $200 million worth of equipment and services already in the pipeline for Pakistan has started to arrive but officials declined to provide full details, saying many of the more sophisticated items were classified.
     
  7. Indianrabbit

    Indianrabbit Regular Member

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    I hope these weapons should not be state of art, because sooner or later it will used against us. And what is our plan?
     
  8. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Pak troops begin ground offensive in Waziristan - Pakistan - World - The Times of India

    Pak troops begin ground offensive in Waziristan
    Omer Farooq Khan, TNN 17 October 2009, 03:23pm IST

    ISLAMABAD: With jetfighters pounding militant positions sporadically for several weeks, the Pakistani troops have finally started a ground offensive in the volatile tribal region of South Waziristan, said officials of the political administration for tribal areas.

    “The military offensive has been launched in Mehsud areas of South Waziristan which will continue till the elimination of all terrorists from the area”, said Tariq Hayat, secretary of the tribal regions. Curfew has been imposed in the area and all communication lines have been jammed, he added.

    The green signal of ground offensive was given during a high-level meeting of the country’s top political and military leadership on Friday late. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani had invited leaders of all political parties for a briefing on a national security situation of the country. The leaders were briefed by the army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. According to media reports, the army chief told politicians that situation had become so dangerous, because of terrorist activities being planned in South Waziristan, that a military operation had become unavoidable.

    However, ground troops have started movement on positions of Taliban insurgents from three areas, from Razmak, the main town of North Waziristan in the north, from Jandola in the east and from Wana, the headquarter of South Waziristan in the west. Reportedly, two divisions of the army totaling 28,000 soldiers have been deployed in the region, blocking different routes into the area.

    Sources in the area have said that strong Taliban resistance and fierce clashes are feared at the militant strongholds of Spinkai-Raghzai area in the east, Tiarza in the west, Makin and Nawazkot in the North and Mulaikhan Serai in the South. On Saturday, suspected Taliban militants detonated a remote-controlled bomb as the army convoy left Razmak military base, killing two soldiers and wounding four others, officials said.

    However, eyewitnesses said that jetfighters had been targeting different areas in the region for the last three days. A large number of people had started shifting for safer places in towns adjoining South Waziristan. Over 8,000 families of South Waziristan moved to the north western town of Dera Ismail Khan on Friday for shelter, officials said. Being aware of the aerial strikes and ground offensive, sources said, the militants had moved to their hideouts in mountains.

    Since, the government announced to launch a military operation in South Waziristan, thousands of Taliban fighters have arrived into the region from Afghanistan and other tribal areas, sources in the area told TOI.

    “Around 4000 to 5000 hardcore Taliban fighters have entered into the area during the last two months.
    They include Uzbeks, Chechens, Turkmens, Arabs, Afghans and fighters from other tribal areas, particularly Bajaur and Mohmand tribal regions”, said Alamgir Bhittani, an independent Waziristan based journalist. The military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas put a figure of around 10,000 foreign militants in the area on Monday.

    Officials and defence analysts envisage fierce clashes and a prolong war against militants in the area.
    “Unlike Swat, the military offensive in South Waziristan will not be simple. The area is a stronghold of the most ferocious fighters of various nationalities. The terrain is tough and it will be a long drawn battle”, security analyst Brigadier Mehmood Shah said.
     
  9. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pakistani forces drive into Taliban stronghold

    Sourcehttp://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/17/pakistan.offensive.militants/index.html
     
  10. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    US has been arming Pakistan since the 50s. What's new? There's nothing we can do about it. The best we can do is try get some 'strings attached' to the aid via our influence in the US Congress.
     
  11. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pakistani Troops Move In for ‘Mother of All Battles”

    October 17, 2009 - 4:11 AM | by: Scott Heidler Islamabad – A Pakistani government official has confirmed to Fox News that the military ground operation has started and the military has also confirmed that mass numbers of Pakistan soldiers have crossed into the South Waziristan agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for Operation Path of Salvation.
    Air strikes and artillery barrages continue to soften militant targets today. Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is expected to hold a nationally televised address tonight on the operation.
    The much talked about and much anticipated offensive is designed to take the fight directly to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or Pakistan Taliban movement’s HQ in South Waziristan. Its new leader Haqimullah Mehsud launched a guerrilla campaign of attacks over the last 12 days that have killed over 175 Pakistan civilians, security forces and law enforcement officers.
    A meeting of high-ranking military and political leaders last night here in Islamabad gave the military the green light to launch what has been called here ‘The Mother of All Battles” in South Waziristan.
    It’s expected to be a hard battle for the Pakistan military as three attempts to take on the Taliban and al Qaida in the remote area failed, ending in peace agreements. Also, since FATA is semi-autonomous, the government and military have never had a full-time and continuous presence in South Waziristan. The government saying there is zero possibility of an agreement this time.
    The United Nations and aid agencies are bracing for more fleeing civilians as the battle draws near. More than 100,000 civilians have already left the area.
     
  12. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pakistan Launches Ground Offensive Against Al Qaeda, Taliban
    [​IMG]

    DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — Pakistani soldiers attacked militant bases in the main al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold along the Afghan border Saturday as the nuclear-armed country launched its most critical offensive yet against insurgents threatening its stability.


    Five soldiers and 11 militants were killed as the more than 30,000 troops deployed to the region met stiff resistance in parts of South Waziristan, a possible hide-out of Osama bin Laden and a base for jihadists bent on overthrowing the U.S-backed government, attacking the West and scuttling the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan

    The U.S. has pushed Pakistan to mount the offensive, which follows three unsuccessful campaigns since 2001 in the mountainous, remote region by mostly poorly equipped soldiers trained to fight conventional wars, not counterinsurgency operations.


    The assault, which has been planned for several months, comes after a surge in militant attacks killed more than 175 people across Pakistan over the past two weeks. The operation is expected to last around two months and is aimed at clearing the region, then holding it, officials said.


    Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the effort was focused on uprooting the Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella group of militants led by members of the Mehsud tribe blamed for most of the attacks that have battered the country over the last three years.


    About 10,000 local militants and about 1,500 foreign fighters, most of them from Central Asia, control roughly 1,275 square miles (3,310 square kilometers) of territory, or about half of South Waziristan.
    Intelligence officials said the ground troops Saturday were advancing on two flanks and a northern front of a central part of South Waziristan controlled by the Mehsuds. The areas being surrounded include the insurgent bases of Ladha and Makeen, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to brief the media.
    Gunbattles were taking place outside Spinkai Raghzai, Kalkala and Sharwangai areas, the officials said.


    As many as 150,000 civilians — possibly more — have left in recent months after the army made clear it was planning an assault. Most are believed to be staying in rented homes or with host families, but there are perhaps as many as 350,000 still in the region. The United Nations has been stockpiling relief supplies in a town near the region, but authorities are not expecting a major refugee crisis like the one that occurred during an offensive this year in the Swat Valley, also in the northwest.


    Makeen resident Ajmal Khan said that the people left in his town were terrified but could not leave their homes due to a curfew.


    "We heard sounds of planes and helicopters early Saturday. Then we heard blasts," Khan told The Associated Press by telephone. "We are also hearing gunshots and it seems the army is exchanging fire with the Taliban."


    Over the last three months, the Pakistani air force has been bombing targets, while the army has said it has sealed off many Taliban supply and escape routes. The military has been trying to secure the support of local tribal armies in the fight.


    At least 11 suspected insurgents were killed in the jet bombings, while a roadside bomb hit a security convoy, killing one soldier and wounding three others, two local intelligence officials said. A military statement Saturday evening said four soldiers were killed and 12 wounded in exchanges in the region.


    It is nearly impossible to independently verify information from the region, which has little infrastructure or government presence. Foreigners require permission to enter the tribal areas, and few Pakistani journalists from other parts risk traveling there.
    Recent opinion polls show widespread public support for military action against the insurgents and there is also broad political backing, a change from a few years ago. But a long and bloody conflict — and more terrorist attacks around the country — could erode that support.


    Even if the army retakes the area, the offensive by itself is unlikely to be death blow to the country's entrenched militants, who have formed networks across the country, including with groups once nurtured by the state as proxies against its arch enemy India.
    The militants could escape to other parts of Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal belt or cities in its heartland. The areas being targeted by the operation don't directly border Afghanistan, which could limit the impact on U.S., Afghan and NATO troops battling a resurgent Afghan Taliban.


    Pakistan waged offensives in the Bajur and Mohmand tribal regions earlier this year that it hailed as successes. But militants are still active in both and there has been little reconstruction.


    South Waziristan is also much farther that those two regions from the main northwestern city of Peshawar, meaning keeping the troops supplied will be much harder.
    Since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Pakistan army's three attempts to dislodge Taliban fighters from South Waziristan have ended in truces that left the Taliban in control. This time, the military has said there will be no deals, partly to avoid jeopardizing gains won earlier this year when Pakistani soldiers overpowered the Taliban in Swat.
    The army's efforts in South Waziristan got a boost when a U.S. missile strike killed Pakistani



    Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud in August. The militants have since named fellow tribesman Hakimullah Mehsud as their leader, and have claimed responsibility for most of the recent attacks, including a 22-hour standoff at the army's headquarters.


    Taliban spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday. Communications in and around the region appeared jammed, making it difficult to reach local residents or other witnesses.


    The U.S. is trying to rush in equipment for the offensive that would help with mobility, night fighting and precision bombing, a U.S. Embassy official told AP in a recent interview, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue is politically sensitive.
    In addition to night-vision devices, the Pakistan military has said it is seeking additional Cobra helicopter gunships, laser-guided munitions and intelligence equipment to monitor cell and satellite telephones.


    Army planners are also considering the weather. Snows expected in the coming weeks could block major roads in South Waziristan. At the same time, the winter could work to the army's advantage by driving fighters out of their unheated mountain hide-outs.


    Pakistan Launches Ground Offensive Against Al Qaeda, Taliban - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News - FOXNews.com
     
  13. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Eyewitness: At the edge of war

    By Syed Shoaib Hasan
    BBC News, Dera Ismail Khan, South Waziristan border

    For Pakistan's much-maligned security forces, this offensive in South Waziristan is a chance to prove to the world how committed they are in the battle against militancy.

    "There are bombs going off everywhere - you must tell the world what is happening," Sher Gul, a terrified resident of Tiarza in South Waziristan told the BBC after arriving in Dera Ismail Khan.

    "My house was destroyed and many people in my village have been killed."
    The fighting in Tiarza is part of the Pakistan army's operation in South Waziristan.

    It has been called the most significant battle against militancy in the region.
    It is also the end of a long wait for the rest of the world - and especially the United States. The authorities there waited with bated breath as Pakistan's leadership took its time to make up its mind on the issue.

    But things probably came to a head with the recent string of deadly attacks which have rocked the country in recent weeks.

    These seem to have galvanised the leadership and forced the issue.

    Escape routes blocked

    Early signs were clear as we arrived in Dera Ismail Khan on Friday. All mobile phone networks within the district were blocked.

    We later learned that networks had also been blocked in Bannu and the Lakki Marwat districts, both near the Waziristan region.

    These are likely routes by which civilians who live in South Waziristan would attempt to leave the region but it could also be an escape route for militants.
    We saw army convoys moving from the city of Dera Ismail Khan to Tank.
    The town is known as the gateway to South Waziristan and has long been the launching pad of any military adventure in that region.

    Reports started coming in early on Saturday that thousands of troops had started moving towards the Taliban-controlled tribal belt from three directions.
    This was evident while we were travelling on the road.

    Several military convoys carrying troops and ammunition were shepherded in the direction of South Waziristan by security details.

    The going was slow. Civilian vehicles are not allowed to pass a military convoy here because of fears of suicide car bombs.

    There have been several such attacks on this road and we therefore chose to keep our distance.

    There were also checkpoints where we had to stop for passing convoys or to prove our identity.

    Grim-faced soldiers manned them warily regarding every vehicle as if it were a ticking bomb.

    As a result, instead of the half-hour drive, it took us two frustrating hours to reach the border of South Waziristan.

    During this time, we also passed several vehicles laden with refugees and their families heading towards Dera Ismail Khan.

    People hung off vehicles, clinging to whatever part of it they could hold on to to get a ride into town.

    Usually bustling with activity in the afternoon, there was a distinct air of tension as we drove through the main market.

    Troops were omnipresent and traffic in the town was thin.

    Civilian exodus

    We headed in the general direction of the Frontier Corps compound in Tank, right at the edge of town.

    Just past it is a dilapidated security checkpoint on a road heading west.
    This is the start of South Waziristan, and the road heads to Jandola, the region's first major town.

    It is from this point that most of the civilian population of South Waziristan left the region.

    We hoped to find some more weary souls trudging in from the war zone but discovered that the route had been shut down by the military.

    Before we left the town, local administration officials told us that the fighting was centred in Tiarza, Makeen and Spinkai Raghzai.

    According to them, there have been dozens of casualties on both sides as the militants put up fierce resistance.

    "The terrain will play a great factor and the militants have always used it to their advantage," says one official.

    "For the ground troops it will be tough going as the cold wave sweeps in."
    In Dera Ismail Khan, though, we found the real casualties of war lining up to register their newly-displaced status.

    "We are caught between the government and the Taliban," says Mohammad Roshan, a South Waziristan resident.

    "We have lost everything and are stuck here till the fighting ends."
    For Pakistan's government, this is the real test.

    The militants know that the state cannot afford a prolonged operation.
    As winter approaches, the government needs a rapid conclusion to this campaign.

    Anything else could have lasting consequences for the future of militancy in the region.

    For the security forces this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to finally bury the militant threat which has returned to haunt them.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Sixty militants, 5 Pakistani soldiers dead: army | Special Coverage | Reuters

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Sixty militants and five Pakistani soldiers have been killed in South Waziristan since the army launched a weekend offensive, the military said on Sunday.

    "In the last 24 hours, reportedly 60 terrorists have been killed in operation Rah-e-Nijat," the military said in a statement on Sunday afternoon. The name of the offensive means Path to Deliverance.
     
  16. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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  17. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Associated Press: Questions and answers about Pakistani offensive

    Questions and answers about Pakistani offensive

    By CHRIS BRUMMITT (AP) – 3 hours ago

    ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Saturday launched its most important offensive against Islamist militants in the Afghan border area since 2001. With the insurgents putting up stiff resistance in one of al-Qaida's top sanctuaries, here are some answers to questions about the operation.

    Why is the army attacking South Waziristan?

    Authorities say 80 percent of the suicide attacks that have battered Pakistan over the last three years can be traced to a militant network based in the region and made up of members of one of its largest tribes, the Mehsuds. Taliban and al-Qaida fighters found refuge there after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and have formed strong ties with local fighters. Al-Qaida is believed to run training camps for recruits wishing to take part in attacks on targets in Western nations. The region is considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders.

    ___

    Will the operation have any impact on violence against NATO and US troops in Afghanistan?

    Probably not much. U.S. and NATO officials have long said militants based on Pakistan's side of the border are fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan, and they will surely be pleased to see the army moving into South Waziristan in such numbers. But the militants are known to mostly attack targets in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, and the area of the operation is not directly next to the border. The army reportedly has been trying to persuade insurgent groups based in South Waziristan that are involved in the Afghan war to stay out of the current fight.

    ___

    What can the army expect to find?

    Around 10,000 fighters belonging to the Pakistani Taliban, supported by up to 1,500 al-Qaida and other foreign extremists, mostly Uzbeks and some Arabs. They control roughly 1,275 square miles (3,310 square kilometers) of the mountainous territory, or about half of South Waziristan. The rest is under the sway of tribes that are hostile — or, at best, neutral — to army troops. Despite U.S. missile strikes and Pakistani air force bombing raids over the last three months, the militants have been able to dig in, stockpile ammunition and prepare for a fight while being largely unmolested by ground forces. Expect the Taliban to fight guerrilla-style, targeting exposed supply convoys and paramilitary troops with roadside bombs and suicide attacks.

    ___

    What are the likely outcomes?

    South Waziristan will likely be far more difficult than operations this year in the other northwestern regions of Bajur, Mohmand and the Swat Valley, and there is no guarantee of success. The army has carried out three operations there since 2004, and each time it has opened negotiations for peace after taking heavy casualties. Mehsud-allied militants grouped under the Pakistani Taliban are the best-trained and equipped in the region. Early accounts suggest they are fighting strongly against troops under orders to take over their sanctuary. Authorities are also braced for more terror attacks around the country in possible efforts by the militants to shift attention elsewhere. Anything other than a declaration of victory by the army will be a propaganda coup for the militants.

    The country's political parties are firmly behind the current operation, more so after a series of bloody attacks in recent weeks killed more than 170 people as the army's intent for the offensive in South Waziristan became clear. Opinion polls show that most of Pakistan's 170 million people, many of whom regard the Taliban in Afghanistan as a legitimate resistance force, also support the offensive. There are also far fewer civilians there than in Swat, meaning the army could rely more heavily on aerial bombardment.

    Analysts say an emboldened army may be able to drive out the militants, but that holding territory in the coming months will be especially difficult, given the tribally administered region has no government to speak of. Even if successful, the operation in itself will not be a death blow to Pakistan's militant groups, which now have networks across the country.
     
  18. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    TTP gets Afghan Taliban support [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    By Mazhar Tufail

    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani militants based in South Waziristan Agency committed the terrorism acts in the past couple of weeks or so with the help of the Afghan Taliban, The News learnt here on Saturday.

    “Leaders of various militant groups active in Pakistan under the banner of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have succeeded in winning support of the Afghan Taliban for committing terror acts in Pakistan,” a source in the security forces disclosed on condition of anonymity.

    “They have mounted the deadly attacks in Peshawar, Bannu, Rawalpindi and Lahore with the help of Afghan Taliban,” he said.

    The source said the top leaders of outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have established links with the Afghan Taliban and all its operatives who have been operating in the Punjab have reached South Waziristan or Afghanistan to evade arrests as the law-enforcement agencies have launched a crackdown on such elements in the Punjab province.

    “Initially, this group was involved in sectarian violence and has been targeting people belonging to a particular religious sect but now it is targeting the security forces,” the source said.

    According to the source, the security forces have, however, launched the operation - codenamed Rah-e-Nijat - in South Waziristan with full determination to eliminate the terrorists from the restive tribal region. He said majority of the troops participating in the operation have an extensive experience of warfare in mountainous terrain and have earlier been fighting terrorists in Swat, Malakand and elsewhere.

    “As directed by the army chief and other commanders involved in the military operation in South Waziristan, the security forces will exercise utmost care to avoid collateral damage during the operation. The commanders are very optimistic about the completion of the operation well before the end of the stipulated time and its positive outcome,” the source said.

    The Pakistan Army launched operation against the extremists in South Waziristan Agency on the night between Friday and Saturday. According to military sources, 1,000 to 1,500 militants are present in South Waziristan and the operation has been launched after three-month siege of the militants.

    The political administration of South Waziristan has, however, said that over 4,000 to 5000 terrorists are present in the area with most of them hiding in Mahsuds-inhibited area.

    South Waziristan is the nerve centre of the TTP and the main source of terrorism across Pakistan. It is from here that TTP renders support to other terrorist groups operating from the nearby Khyber, Bajaur, Orakzai and Mohmand agencies.

    “The root of the terror is in South Waziristan where this group is present. It is a must to root out this terror and curse,” the source said.

    After the death of Baitullah Mahsud in a drone strike on August 5, TTP is being led by Hakimullah Mahsud with the assistance of Waliur Rehman and Qari Hussain, who runs a suicide training camp in Kotkai area of the region.

    According to the source, in the last three months, the TTP militants intensified attacks on security forces deployed in South and North Waziristan agencies, including five suicide missions in Razmak area, kidnapping of 15 security personnel, killing three of them, over 300 rocket attacks and 78 improvised explosive device (IED) attacks.

    “Given all of the recent terrorism acts in various parts of the country, a final showdown against Taliban and their al-Qaeda Uzbek allies in South Waziristan has become an absolute necessity,” the source said.

    The source said no doubt the country’s security forces were faced with a far stronger enemy in South Waziristan than one they have confronted and overcame in Swat.
     
  19. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Al-Qaeda, Afghan and Pakistan Taliban join forces [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    By Najeeb Ahmad

    KARACHI: Pakistani and Afghan jehadi groups have decided to start “battle of evil and just”, as the Afghan fighters assured Pakistani militants of complete support in their fight against Pak army in South Waziristan.

    According to sources, it was decided in a meeting of the commanders of al-Qaeda, Hakmatyar group, Afghan Taliban and Pakistani jehadi organisations, which was held in Afghanistan.


    The meeting decided that the Pakistan security forces, which have been helping the American forces, would also be targeted and the Afghan fighters, who have been fighting in Afghanistan for the last eight years, for the first time decided to send manpower to Waziristan in support of Pakistan militants.

    The meeting also decided to intensify the ‘jehad’ against US and allied forces and codenamed the new battle as “battle of evil and just”. The militants under new war strategy would avoid targeting public places.

    The Pakistani militants briefed the meeting about Pakistani forces actions against fighters, sources said and added that all Pakistani jehadi organisations accepted Hakimullah Mahsud as their amir and vowed to continue “jehad” under his leadership.

    The meeting was also informed about details of killing of families of three commanders in drone attacks in South and North Waziristan agencies.

    The meeting also devised guerrilla war strategy.
     
  20. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    If these reports are true, it must put paid to all but the most delusional Pakistanis about the supposed difference between "good" and "bad" Taliban.
     
  21. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    The Pak Army Offensive in South Waziristan

    By B.Raman
    Reports from Pakistan indicate that about 30,000 troops of the Pakistan army and Frontier Corps launched on the morning of October 17,2009, the long heralded offensive against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan. The ground offensive was preceded by sustained air strikes against the suspected hide-outs of the TTP in the area.

    2. The TTP is a hotch-potch of the myriad Pakistani insurgent and terrorist groups, which were trained and armed in the past by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Special Services Group (SSG) for use against India and for supporting the Afghan Taliban headed by Mulla Mohammad Omar, its Amir, now sheltered in the Quetta area of Balochistan. Most of these groups have since turned against the Pakistani State, which they look upon as an apostate because of its co-operation with the US. The fighting capabilities imparted to them in the past by the ISI and the SSG have since been supplemented by the capabilities imparted to them by Al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Islamic Jihad Union, another Uzbek group, and by small numbers of Chechens and Uighurs.

    3. The element of surprise, which is important in any such ground offensive, has been lost by the long time taken by the political and military leadership of Pakistan to launch the offensive. It is a face-saving offensive forced on the Pakistan Army by the series of spectacular attacks launched by the Pashtun and Punjabi components of the TTP on the General Headquarters of the Army in Rawalpindi and on prestigious police establishments in Lahore, Peshawar and Kohat. It is an offensive , which seems to focus only on the Mehsud component of the TTP based in South Waziristan.

    4.The Mehsuds are the sons of the South Waziristan soil, but have repeatedly demonstrated a capability for action outside South Waziristan in areas such as the Orakzai agency of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and in the Peshawar, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan areas of the North-West Frontier Province. Hakeemullah Mehsud, who was chosen as the Amir of the TTP after the death of Baitullah Mehsud in a US Drone strike on August 5,2009, is reportedly still based in the Orakzai agency, where he has been supervising operations against the NATO's logistic convoys to Afghanistan while at the same time co-ordinating operations in Peshawar, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan.

    5. Waliur Rehman, a confidante of Baitullah, who is in charge of the Mehsuds based in South Waziristan, will be organising the resistance against the Pakistani forces in South Waziristan with the help of the forces of Serjuddin Haqqani of the so-called Haqqani network.. The Pakistan Army seems to have launched the offensive without factoring into its planning the lessons from the recent attacks in Rawalpindi, Lahore. Peshawar and Kohat. While the attacks in Rawalpindi and Lahore were spearheaded by the Punjabi component of the TTP, which calls itself the Amjad Farooqi group and has shown a capability for SSG-style commando operations, the attacks in Peshawar and Kohat were carried out by the suicide bombers of the suicide squad trained and motivated by Qari Hussain Mehsud.

    6. The TTP will seek to counter the offensive on three fronts---- insurgency style operations against the advancing troops in South Waziristan similar to the operations of the Afghan Taliban in Afghan territory, more suicide attacks by Pashtun suicide bombers of Qari Hussain Mehsud in Peshawar and Kohat and more terrorist attacks---some of them of a complex nature in Punjab, including Rawalpindi as well as in Islamabad. While the Pakistan Army has prepared itself well for the counter-insurgency style operations in South Waziristan, its ability to prevent attacks behind its back in the NWFP and Punjab is doubtful. Despite the spurt in suicide and commando-style terrorism in the NWFP and Punjab and even in supposedly well-guarded cantonments since the Lal Masjid raid in July,2007, the Pakistani counter-terrorism machinery has not re-fashioned and re-tooled itself to meet this threat.

    7. In South Waziristan, the Mehsuds will follow the same tactics that the Pashtuns have been following for centuries against invaders of their territory---- avoid a frontal confrontation, split into small groups and harass the strangers to a terrain which the Mehsuds know well. Their tactics will be not territorial domination, but dispersal of their presence and operational focus. They will try to deny to the Pakistan Army the advantages of a well-focused assault, by harassing it here, there and everywhere, without allowing it to get its bearings in a hostile terrain.

    8. As the Army carries forward its offensive, US Predators will be looking for Serajuddin Haqqani, Waliur Rehman, Hakeemullah and Qari Hussain Mehsud .If they succeed in eliminating one or some or all of them, it could be a morale-booster to the Pakistani troops. Otherwise, their difficulties could increase.

    9. Pakistan's counter-terrorism mechanism is in shambles. It does not know who is a friend and who is a foe in Punjab. It does not know who is a terrorist and who is a serving or retired serviceman. It does not know who is an ally against India and who is an adversary of the State of Pakistan. There is a danger of the NWFP and Punjab becoming the failed provinces of Pakistan if the Army's offensive does not succeed.

    ( The writer is Additional Secretary(retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: [email protected] )
     

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