Are the Taliban under pressure in Pakistan?

September 4, 2008

File photo of South WaziristanAre the Taliban and al Qaeda finally under serious pressure in their hideouts along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border?

Pakistani officials say U.S.-led helicopter-borne troops launched a ground assault on a Pakistani village near the Afghan border on Wednesday, killing 20 people.  The raid, in the South Waziristan tribal area, was the first known incursion into Pakistan by U.S.-led troops since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

The raid has been condemned by Pakistan as a violation of its sovereignty. But the timing is puzzling.

Under intense U.S. pressure, the Pakistani army had launched major offensives against Taliban and al Qaeda strongholds in Bajaur,  another border area, and in Swat in the North-West Frontier Province, although Pakistan has since called a ceasefire for Ramadan.  Details of the offensives were sketchy, but their scale was implied by the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the fighting.  It began to look as though Pakistan was finally taking determined action to drive out the Taliban and al Qaeda.

According to French journalist Marie-France Calle,  writing of a week spent travelling between Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad, “everyone I have spoken to have told me that … the new people in charge have decided to go all the way in the tribal areas. They all said the only solution was to continue military operations until the Taliban and other militants were wiped out”.

So if Pakistan had begun its own campaign — as Washington has long asked it to do — why did the United States take the risk of enraging Islamabad by sending in ground troops? Did the U.S. troops believe they had a major target in their sights, a high-profile al Qaeda leader, and decide it was worth the risk? Or was the attack evidence of mounting pressure from both the United States and Pakistan on the Islamist militants  hiding out on the Pakistani-Afghan border? (The reported ground assault was followed up on Thursday by what Pakistan security officials said was a missile attack by a suspected U.S. drone in North Waziristan.)

It is too early to draw any real conclusions. However, let us just suppose the tide is turning against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan’s border areas and they are being forced out. Where will they go?

30 comments

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If the United States thinks it is smart enough to carry on reckless cross-border assaults into Pakistani territory, well then Pakistani intelligence ISI should start providing Stinger type ANZA-MK1 & ANZA-MK2 anti-aircraft/helicopter missiles to the Taliban. The US/NATO force should be deprived of the air superiority to stop them from attacking Pakistan. A couple of successful hits downing chinooks, Blackhawks will open the eyes of Americans. Pakistan’s soverignity has to be preserved at every cost, even at the expense of American objectives in Afghanistan. Long Live Pakistan!

Posted by Pakistani | Report as abusive

Rarely will the actual target be identified. It simply makes sense to get as much from detainees before you tell their comrades that they (and their information) have been compromised. On the other hand, Pakistan wants to be a free and stable Islamic democracy. So they bad mouth the U.S. actions in public, but privately encourage pressure on the Taliban. When the two front war squeezes the terrorist out into the open, this war will quickly change to a small hit and run affair which may go on for years. But the area governments can handle that level of war without upsetting their larger neighbors Iran and India. The next play for the terrorist is clearly Kashmir where major players have a stake. I fear the recent unrest there is just a start.

Posted by James Parker | Report as abusive

[...] Are the Taliban under pressure in Pakistan? [...]

your report – and many others in the western media – do not mention that the 21st century technology of the US was employed against unarmed men, women, and children in a remote village.

2 foreign helicopters landed, 2 staying airborne, as big, brave, foreign soldiers entered several homes and killed 20 defenseless people, including 10 women and children. mission accomplished, they flew off in there nice shiny choppers.

any way you look at it, THIS IS AN ACT OF TERRORISM AND AN ACT OF WAR.

sheer arrogance and stupidity will not win the US any friends and will alienate any support it has for the ‘war on terror’ by making it impossible to differentiate between the so-called ‘good guys’ and the ‘terrorists’.

Posted by A. R. Nizami | Report as abusive

[...] Are the Taliban under pressure in Pakistan? Comments (4) Posted by: Myra MacDonald Tags: Uncategorized [...]

Pakistani- Did you forget about 9/11? If your harboring terrorist then you must be against us! Either fight with us to remove terrorism or get the F out of the way!

There will always be innocent casualty’s during a war or battle but, I know for a fact that the USA does not attack innocent women and children. TERRORIST ATTACK THE INNOCENT!! They only know how to fight like cowards and live in caves.

If you want us out of your country then STOP HARBORING TERRORIST!

Posted by James IV | Report as abusive

20 dead is 20 dead. The U.S. is reckless raiding anywhere when innocent people are around. Who is paying for this? 1) American taxpayers, most of whom are regular people just like the 20 killed, and very unfortunately of course, 2) those who are killed. Hmm. When will we (U.S.) ever learn….? Didn’t Martin Luther King. Jr. accomplish his vision with non-violence?

Posted by good day | Report as abusive

Pakistan needs to clean their back yard.. the US and any country has to right to engage cowards who attack in afgan and run across the border. In the rest of the world the country that allows the attackers to use their border usually stands up and runs military operations to help.. if not then we must go after them including the country that allows this to happen..

if not, then its time to wipe these people off the earth and get rid of extreme religious groups everywhere. if you cant get along with the rest of the world and different religions then go away

Posted by Joe D | Report as abusive

by the way they were not innocent women and children.. get your facts straight..

Posted by Joe D | Report as abusive

Women and children are killed because taliban and al qeda are using them as human shields or they are sheltering taliban an al queda. But, what does a Pakistani man care about them dying anyway? You people shoot and bury young women alive because they want to choose whom they marry. Oh, wait! I bet you only care about the young children who were boys who died, and you only care about the women because they aren’t there to take care of the boys who are alive.

Posted by R Webster | Report as abusive

Pakistan is the terrorist capital of the world, no ifs and buts about that but.. what can be done? i think a nuclear strike by US in that region will and should cripple taliban for good.

Posted by AmazingDude | Report as abusive

Confusing and frustrating decision by the US, that is for sure. Why do something like this without consulting Pakistan, despite Pakistan being the most valuable ally in the war on terror? You can pick out the people who don’t know anything about anything when they say Pakistan is harboring this and that. Go read a newspaper, seriously. Pakistan has done more and lost more than the rest of the coalition in Afghanistan combined, and they are being treated like an enemy. It’s almost as if the US doeesn’t WANT to completely defeat terrorism in that region, which may very well be the case.

Posted by Sikandar | Report as abusive

It is a appalling that people can make such sick comments here! Women and Children were killed, many of the children were less than 5 yrs old, unfortunately. The United Sates and all those low IQ Americans cant link angry people turning to violence as a final resort for revenge of murdering of their Wives, sons and daughters. 9/11 was an inside job without doubt, it is unfortunate that so many Americans fell for it, if the taliban was capable of carrying out such attacks then the White House would not exist and President Bush would not be alive. If they had the ability to plan and execute an attack of that scale, they would not let a single government building in the US exist after what those cruel Americans did to their children and women!

Now they are coming to Pakistan, the government at the time may support America but the people wont!
So America will fail, unless they give up their current strategy, and focus on educating children and encouraging development in Pakistan’s tribal areas. That is the solution.

Posted by Faizan Zakir | Report as abusive

well the history is very sad! firstly one has to understand that it was pakistan who acknowledge taliban goverment in afghanistan, secondly they created the mess which the world is now dealing with,lastly its a payback time for pakistan ! its a rotten to core crroks run the country, with no regard to its people! neither their welfare, health or education, its a ownership of few elits, and without US support its would have bankrupt long time back!
it sounds rather nice for them complain about raid in their terrority, what about their forces and bodies hidden agendas in kashmir!
the global community seems to forget what they have been up to for past 15 years !
its payback time from the monster they created, for a nation which is bankrupt without US aid!! tall order to talk about sovierenity!!

Posted by raj patel | Report as abusive

I don’t blame if NATO is attacking those criminals who are killing innocent people on both sides of PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN borders,lets not forget that BUSH ADMINISTRATION paid billions of dollars to Pakistanis for fighting against terrorism but corrupt Pakistanis put that money in their bank accounts and never been sincere to kill or arrest taliban or their leaders,so its time for NATO to take action.

AmazingDude
You are an AMAZING IDIOT suggesting a nuclear strike by US on Pakistan. Think about it this way, Pakistan has a second strike status capability. Pakistan would still survive a nuclear strike and retaliate with one of its own.
Now again, suppose if Pakistan and US part ways at this point. Pakistani itelligence goes on to smuggle ATGMs(anti-tank guided missiles) and SAM(Surface to Air) short-medium range ANZA MK-1/2/3 missiles to the Taliban just like the CIA supplies to Mujahideen in the mid-80s to defeat the Soviets. The tide could turn against US/NATO forces in Afghanistan as they will loose air superiority. Logistical problems will arise and the skies will not be safe anymore. Many of Pakistan Army and Intelligence officers are Pushtun. They speak the language of Taliban and know the area better than anyone else. Pakistani military is backed by a nuclear detterent and can conduct increasingly offensive operations. This scenario can be a possibility and US knows this. The best option is cooperation. So stop your rhetoric and just realize the fact that you are playing with fire. The stakes are high and everyone needs to take sensible decisions.

Posted by Pakistani | Report as abusive

I am often amazed at the rapidity with which the Arab Work comes up with the “Party Line.” The joint actions taken by the American and Pakistani military forces is clearly a signal to the “terrorist” elements who use these areas to foster their narcotics and weapons distribution networks. It is less a war about “assaults” against Islam as it is a shoddy attempt to cover criminal activities. It is hard to bleat as an innocent about the loss of women and children when the Jihadists have specifically targeted public areas in Israel, Europe, Asian and New York which has caused countless deaths and injury to the civilians who were unfortunately in the target area. Obviously these people are busy trying to propagate the “big Lie.”

Unless the Moderate Muslims gain control of their societies and purge their societies of these criminal elements there will come a day in the very near future where the Middle East and the other Islamic nations will be forced to endure complete isolation, an absence of technological development and assistance during major disasters. There is no far less tolerance for the whinging Muslim who is attempting to play both sides of the street. Whether or not you agree Edward Said was way off the mark.

Posted by Strategic Analyst | Report as abusive

raj patel
Shut up, India is the big shit hole, where 25% of population comprising of Dalits(low caste hindus) lives in absolute misery. India has poor masses which are unfed, take care of your country. If Pakistan did not go bankrupt after 1998 nuclear explosions, it can always withstand all pressure. India is morally bankrupt nation where christians are being murdered and oppressed in Orissa right now.

Posted by UMPK | Report as abusive

I’m quite sure there was real necessity for the raid and terrorists hiding in tribes, surrounding themselves with innocent people, makes for a nearly impossible scenario for zero loss of innocent life but they still have to be found and destroyed. It’s sad but true. The real vilain here are the terrorists, not the U.S. They’re a cancer to the planet and have to be destroyed–period. The raid accomplished at least one essential thing, if not two. It sent the clear message to Pakistan that doing nothing while hundreds of terrorist training camps flourished in it’s country was unacceptable and that one way or another the camps were going to be dealt with. Amazingly, Pakistan has now decided it’s in it’s own best interest to find and terminate them. It’s about **** time. They should have done it long before now and if they had, there would have been no U.S. raid. A country cannot claim sovereignty and ignore terrorists strongholds in it’s own territory at the same time. If it’s sovereign it has to deal with the terrorists, if it doesn’t it’s sovereignty becomes threatened by those who will. By knowingly allowing them to thrive, they become responsible for there future actions.

Posted by Ethan | Report as abusive

murdering innocents is wrong – no matter what their nationality, religion, or geographical location is.

to murder innocents is a terrorist act – no matter if the perpetrators are from a ‘third world’ country or a rich nation that touts itself as the leader of the free world.

so let’s not try to obfuscate the fundamental issue here: THIS WAS AN ACT OF TERROR AND AN ACT OF WAR.

side issues:
1) with ref to all the ignorant comments about the ground realities of the war against terror in this region, pls note the Pakistan Army has been fighting militants for the past several years in extremely hostile and difficult terrain at a great and mounting cost of life. we don’t need inept clumsy cowboy style american actions that will only shatter support for this war and for the new percvd terrorist-on-the-block i.e. the coalition.

2) the militants are the same mercenaries – arab, uzbek, afghan, pakistani – whom the americans paid to fight the jihad against the soviets during the afghan-ussr war. they have been creating trouble ever since.

3) the fight against militancy in Pakistan will succeed only if the public continues to perceive it is in Pakistan’s self-interest. that’s not going to be possible if foreign cowboys use civilians for target practice.

Posted by A R Nizami | Report as abusive

As Pakistanis seem to be beginning to realize that the Taliban are no friends of Islam, Pakistan or Muslims, it is important that the US handle the situation very carefully. Any hint or action suggesting that the US is “pushing” Pakistan to crack down on the Taliban would be counterproductive. Let Pakistanis see it as their fight rather than America’s fight. That is the only way to isolate the Taliban and neutralize them.

Congradulations yet another border breached by USA. Americans must remember that Russia was right next door to Afghanistan and Pakistan and their milatry might could not defend its homeland. America has to travel seven seas, go and fight there. American nation is fast going bank rupt. AMERICAN’s listen to me. Do you have a head on your shoulders. You have half the world as you enemies and the rest just want the assurance that they can take you down. Americans as human beings does not deserve that. Take the charge of your foreign policy and improve on your understanding of the world around you. No body is your enemy to the extent your government and media has told you. AMERICAN’s if you keep sleeping while the rest of world is burning, people that run you policies would burn you homes too.

Frustrated by apparent defeat in Iraq, loss of public approval and support in Afghanistan and
failure to prove the campaign-fostered illusions that presence of NATO/US forces was aimed
at liberating the Afghans, the US and Mr. Karzai seek escape by blaming others for all the
ills.
Very systematically the local Taliban are infiltrated by the US assets led by Baitullah Mehsud
to create hatred against the government and armed forces of Pakistan resulting in many
attacks on law enforcement agencies. These US assets in the garb of “Taliban” have
succeeded to a great extent to create a divide between the local Taliban and the State.

US assets within Pakistani political parties and media have been mobilized to create
confusion among the Pakistani public about security situation and safety of nuclear program.
Under a well-planned strategy pressure is being built against nuclear weapons of Pakistan by
floating false propaganda.

Posted by dr raheel | Report as abusive

Frustrated by apparent defeat in Iraq, loss of public approval and support in Afghanistan and
failure to prove the campaign-fostered illusions that presence of NATO/US forces was aimed
at liberating the Afghans, the US and Mr. Karzai seek escape by blaming others for all the
ills.
Very systematically the local Taliban are infiltrated by the US assets led by Baitullah Mehsud
to create hatred against the government and armed forces of Pakistan resulting in many
attacks on law enforcement agencies. These US assets in the garb of “Taliban” have
succeeded to a great extent to create a divide between the local Taliban and the State.
US assets within Pakistani political parties and media have been mobilized to create
confusion among the Pakistani public about security situation and safety of nuclear program.
Under a well-planned strategy pressure is being built against nuclear weapons of Pakistan by
floating false propaganda.

Posted by dr raheel | Report as abusive

click on my name and be shocked to know our next president thinks he is the expert.

read above article an eye opener

Islamic fundamentalism and militant Moslems have to be ideologically and physically eradicated wherever they are if the world wants peace, be it in Pakistani, Iran, Lebanon, Gaza, or even London-England (infested with militant cockroaches)…this, however, means that the US should stop cowboy attacks and instead use some of the NASA’s money to develop intelligence and technology to hunt down these religious HIVs. I don’t want to see over and over that US military attacks go bad in covert operations. If the US attacks it better result in big blows to these Islamic fascists who like Hitler want to concur the world. Sooner or later they will be doomed forever.

Posted by I've been there | Report as abusive

US special forces or any first world SF units are not ‘cowboys’, and NEVER intend on killing women and children. Period.
Target practice.. you cannot be serious, please consider what you write.
Dr Raheel, your rationale borders on paranoid conspiracy theory. why would US ‘assets’ infiltrate Pakistani politics to destabalise the government. Destabalised it is, and why, because of the US? come on. It is because of a clash in ideolgy, how many Pakis have crossed the border to fight the ISF? What do the majority of Pakistanis feel about the US and the coalition? The porus Pakistani borders are a melting pot of warlords, drug runners and religious fanatasism. will we see a ‘moderate’ muslim nation emerge?
Strategic Analyis seems to have offered one of the most level headed posts here.
There is no place in a peaceful world for extremist views of any kind, breeding hatred and division.

Posted by done that | Report as abusive

“DONE THAT”Its not a pranoid conspiracy theory.you are responding like a typical american or european who are kept ignorant of the ground realities because of the hijaked media.its not US who is doing all this but its the zionist regime and the jewish lobby which has captured the US economy and directed the US policy to create and save great israel.the “american enterprise institute” states the clear objectives of THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY.
The six main aspects of the strategy pertaining to the US foreign policy are as follows:
1. Defense and security of Israel
2. Containment of Islam as a defense, political and economic system
3. Control of fuel and energy assets
4. Control of the global trade routes and waterways
5. Encirclement of Russian Federation
6. Encirclement of China.
Here, it is important to understand that according to their religious belief system, Jews cannot establish an independent state of their own since their holy scriptures tell them that their betterment is in spreading across the world. In accordance with the exegesis of the concept of “diaspora”,[jews living outside of israel] Jews must be dispersed across the whole world and they have been forbidden to gather at a specific place. Older generations of Jews believed that they could be easily wiped out by the enemy, if they would choose to assemble in a single state.
Over the past one-fifty years, a new Jewish sect emerged, which according to the classical Judaism is a heretic sect, propounded a new notion that Jews should also constitute a separate state of their own. This heretic sect is known as the “Zionist” sect of Jews. This sect believes that in order to bring this Zionist state into existance they can stretch to any limits and they can bring about as much massacre to humanity as they want and that they can employ all sorts of negative, unfair, unethical and illicit means to accomplish this task.
Talking of the United States of America in the 21st century they mention that if we want to start bloody wars on a global scale we would not be able to win the support of the entire American nation until a second ‘Pearl Harbour’ takes place; the same way in which the entire American nation jumped into the 2nd World War after Pearl Harbour was attacked by the Japanese. It is imperative to mention here that the United States of America needed a second Pearl Harbour – which they eventually got in the form of 9/11.

A film that was made in reference to 9/11 (9/11 Fahrenheit) also claimed that it is impossible for Al-Qaida to have carried out such an operation. Even the inquiry into the event has not been made public by the United States as yet. Henry Kissinger was made the head of the inquiry, but he resigned on the third day and walked out. Secondly, it was discovered that Israeli teams were present in New Jersey before the 9/11 event took place and the entire attack was being filmed. They even celebrated the event because of which they were arrested by the F.B.I. All of this is present on record. The F.B.I. records also point out that the Israelis were filming the operation.
So, it should be firmly grasped that the tragedy of 9/11 was not accidental, there was a great strategy behind it, the foresight of the United States was behind it. The 9/11 calamity was engineered to create panic among the people and to lay the groundwork for winning public consent globally. Moreover, to name this war as the ‘War on Terror’ is nothing else but a part of the means to achieve the six established objectives of the American foreign policy in the 21st century. In actuality, ‘War on Terror’ is nothing more than complete nonsense.
I had to go in such detail bcz u ppl dont know the ground realities,you just know the america is fighting a war against terror.who are the terrorist?there are two types of terrorists,the americans and the second ones created as a reaction to the american terrorists.Recently it was exposed on the pakistani intelligence that[which is no more a secret and man yscholars in pakistan mentioned it]Baitullah Mehsud is a US backed “ASS HOLE” because so many times ISI gave information about Baitullah Mehsud but US didnt hit him.Why?because he is backed by US,India,Afghanistanand Israel.
Americans know that the game is no more a secret to pakistanis thats why they have started attacking pakistani territories.
If you think pakistani borders are porous to war lords,drug runners and relegious fanatasism then”WHY DID HAMID KARZAI REJECTED THE IDEA OF FENCING AND MINING OF THE BORDERS?Think over it,if u dont find any answer i have some stunning facts about karzai and his govt,

Posted by dr raheel | Report as abusive

Faizan Zakir, how can you say that 9/11 was an inside job? Watch out Osama Bin Ladin will send his al queda operatives to your house if you keep trying to take credit for the attack away from him.

You are certainly an idiot if you think OBL’s guys didn’t do the suicide attacks on the New York towers. Americans are not suicidal; unlike muslims who want to be martyred and be entertained by virgins in the afterlife.

And why should America educate and improve the lives of the people in Pakistan. The government of Pakistan should take care of their own people. Do they all want to go on welfare?

The problem is the muslim religion in which the radical muslims feel that it is their duty to either convert infidels to Islam or kill them. As long as you have Islam as your religion, your people will always be at war with the infidels. The picture is very clear … if muslim stop killing others, they won’t be attacked in retaliation. Do you think the Americans in Afghanistan want to kill women and children in Pakistan? They don’t even want to waste their bombs and bullets on them. Be honest now, your people don’t value women even as much as you value children and donkeys. They are only slaves and possessions in your culture. When women and children die in a bombing you always note in news reports that so many women were killed in the attack. Now that is disingenuous since women are not valued in your culture as they are in Western cultures.

The women should all go on strike against the men in your countries and not cook or take care of the children and house for a few weeks until they are given equal rights. How can you guys kill women for wanting to marry someone that they love or even to go out with some unrelated man? Arranged marriages treat women like cattle or personal possessions of men. And why must women wear burqas and veils in your society? Are men in your society so horny that they will jump just any woman who doesn’t cover her face or body? You just need some self control like in Western societies.

Posted by realmerv | Report as abusive

It looks cynical reading at so many muslims posting comments against killing some women by American troops, which could be a mistake and not intentional or those women could be one of them who cooked or helped taliban militants to survive there.
well it looks cynical because these muslims were not agitated when beautiful benazir butto was killed by another muslim !!!
this tells me muslim men aren’t horny either !!

Posted by Om | Report as abusive

and what about suicide attacks that kill hundreds of innocent in pakistan too? also this horrific crimes must to be preserved at every cost?

Posted by calogero | Report as abusive

[...] Are the Taliban under pressure in Pakistan? [...]

Raheel, what is a ‘typical’ american or european? Would you prefer to use the terms ‘us’ and ‘them’? It is very easy to put people in a little box and describe them all to be this or that, I would think that as a moderate you would not like to be called a fanatic. You have started to rant about how Israel wants to control the world when really they would probably just like to protect themselves considering they are surrounded by nations that threaten their existence.
I am glad to hear you like to watch Michael Moore and his conspiracy theory movies, having free and open opinions is what makes a democracy, you dont have to fear for your safety because you speak out against your government.
I’ve got an answer for you too. Fencing and mining the border? Ok. Google a map of Pakistan and Afghanistan, select topographical view, alright do you see the enormity of the task of fencing an area like that? Do you have any idea how may mines are in Afghanistan already, and you think more is the answer?
No we should get back on topic.
Are the Taliban under pressure?
I think so. Are these attacks a threat to Pakistan? Not unless the people of Pakistan do more to purge their country of fanatasism. The colours of Pakistan are starting to be revealed, we will truly see what they are.

Posted by done that | Report as abusive

[...] Are the Taliban under pressure in Pakistan? [...]