Pakistan’s South Waziristan operation: defeat or dispersal?

November 7, 2009

Pakistan’s military offensive in South Waziristan appears to be showing considerably more success than earlier attempts to take control of the tribal region on the Afghan border, at least according to army accounts which are the only real source of information. 

But will it turn the tide in Pakistan’s battle against Islamist militants? A few articles which have appeared over the last few days give pause for thought.

Dawn newspaper says in an editorial the Taliban have “been subdued, not vanquished”.

“Before operation Rah-i-Najat was launched, the army put the Taliban strength at about 10,000. Since the maximum number of Taliban fatalities has been put at about 500, those not taken prisoner may have slipped into North Waziristan or the adjoining settled districts. They must be pursued relentlessly without being given a chance to reorganise, and the nation ought to be told what strategy the authorities have up their sleeve to finish the job.”

And to achieve lasting success, the civilian administration is going to have to provide the kind of basic development – schools, roads, healthcare, electricity – that the refugees quoted in this Los Angeles Times article say they are hoping for. 

But that might prove difficult at a time when the country’s political parties – rather than focusing on development and political reforms to convince people to back the government rather than the Taliban — are once again embroiled in the kind of in-fighting that has destroyed civilian democracy in the past.

Writing in Gulf newspaper The National, historian Manan Ahmed worries about the Pakistani Taliban spilling into Baluchistan and finding fertile ground for growth among a people unhappy with the government in Islamabad.  The province is already home to a separatist Baluch insurgency. “The true crisis facing Pakistan is not the Taliban,” he writes. It is instead the state’s failure to provide political and economic rights to the many different people and ethnic groups who make up the country.

The Pakistan Army this year has driven the Taliban out of the Swat valley and is on the way to pushing them out of their South Waziristan stronghold.  But can the civilian government provide the administrative backbone needed to ensure the military operations eventually defeat rather than merely displace the Taliban? The signs are not lookingpromising.

(A word on comments: my last post elicited some very interesting and insightful comments for which many thanks.  But I’d like to ask everyone again to avoid polemics and focus on making points which take the discussion forward.)

(File photos of refugees from Swat during a dust-storm)

37 comments

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What Pakistan needs now is a charismatic leader in whom people can place their faith and belief. Due to lack of such leaders, Pakistanis have relied on their next best choice which is Military commanders. In the case of military, they can accomplish a lot compared to civilian governments because they do not have to consider public opinions. They do not have to go back to the public to be re-elected. So military commanders appear clean and straight forward to them. But military can accomplish a mission and needs the next mission. They are good at conquering lands and driving out an enemy. But they cannot be expected to build roads, schools and hospitals for the general public. Nor can they bring businesses.I wish Imran Khan had made it big in politics. He definitely has the brains and charisma to lead his nation out of misery. He really is devoted towards making Pakistan a modern nation. He has proven accomplishments as a leader. He can really unite people under his leadership. If Imran was in charge now, Pakistan would do the right things and Pakistanis will put their faith in him. And India-Pakistan relationship can be handled at a much different level. Imran can be trusted. No one can question that. He has excellent capabilities to make correct judgments of a situation and call the right shots. UK and the US should try to help this man come to the forefront and lead his people out of this miserable tangle they are stuck with. And it has to be done quickly. I am very sure that Imran Khan can help build the necessary infrastructure that Pakistan badly needs. I never see his name brought in any of these discussions.Regarding South Waziristan – militant tactics are well known. They are not going to stay in the same place waiting for law enforcement to come and shoot at them. They will slip out and wait it out. They know their home territory better than anyone else. They will leave the civilians to take the brunt of the attacks and turn that to their advantage. The military might declare the dead as militants and declare victory. It will only make more civilians turn against the system. This is their plan. They are going to prolong this conflict and bleed the system from fatigue. Their goal is to build frustration and push the military to make more mistakes out of that frustration. Those mistakes will be used to weaken the army which can be held accountable. Every human rights violations will be highlighted to cause embarrassment to the system. I am concerned that this is going to be a long war. I hope Pakistanis get the needed moral support to come out of this difficult situation.

I cannot imagine that the TTP would successfully migrate and begin an insurgency in Baluchistan. For one thing, to do so would be completely against the interests of the Taliban that are within Quetta–it would mean the Pakistani Army would be forced to crack down on them, and they would lose their safe haven. For another, there aren’t many Mehsuds, nor are there many Pashtuns in Baluchistan. Instead, there are Baluchs; I can’t concieve that with this ethnic divide the two would actually join together–especially given that the Baluchs themselves aren’t united.As well, I wonder how the TTP will be able to compensate for the loss of its financial base in South Waziristan. Even if things aren’t reconstructed there, and they move to North Waziristan, who will the TTP be able to tax to maintain their finances?

Posted by Mike Bradely | Report as abusive

A defeat in Swat had already destroyed the myth that Taliban cannot be defeated and now they are being defeated and their main infrastructure and safe heaven is being destroyed in South Waziristan. But as usual the western press is never satisfied in all victories of the Pakistan army.Maybe you should look at the other end of the border as well where the whole of Afghanistan has become a safe heaven except a few cities!!So better look at NATO/USA failures and in actions in Afghanistan itself!! What was the motivation in removing the check posts in the contiguous border right at the time when Pakistan attacked Taliban in South Waziristan. This helped provide an escape rout to and from Afghanistan this is how NATO/USA facilitates your ally Pakistan seal the border?

Posted by ratee | Report as abusive

What is happening in Waziristan is the battle fought by the brave soldiers and officers of Pakistan Army and the Air Force. The war which is to finally decide the defeat dispersal or the success of the Taliban has not even started yet. That war is not to be fought simply with munitions. Two Philosophies have to be taken to the table. Whether Pakistan will continue to be governed as a half baked democracy with all the theocratic elements making it a meaningless governance system, and creating further fertile ground for the Taliban, or whether there is still a political will available with the political leadership to revive the fundamentals of Jinnah’s Pakistan.The major problem which the state and the society faces are the closet talibans, who tacitly form the bulwark of the Taliban thought.Beyond achieving tactical gains, it is strategic policy which has not yet evolved, and that is what Pakistan needs in its immediate agenda.

Posted by Akmal Wasim | Report as abusive

This game is always beyond my logic. Pakistan army always gives 6 months notice to militants. But never moves until US dlivers aid and arms. By this time militants are gone (with military’s knowledge!!!). Then military goes with too much media fanfare, destroys some empty civilian houses, displaces 1-2 mil people! And ask for more US aid!!!

Posted by Rubin | Report as abusive

How did militants come this far? What have been political, military leaders doing for last 60 years? Playing musical-chair among themselves?

Posted by Norman | Report as abusive

It’s not the current offensive that counts. It’s what comes after that matters. How many times in the past few years have we seen the PA move in? Then they’d push out press releases talking about how many militants they’ve killed and how many soldiers embraced martyrdom. And few weeks later they sign a peace deal and line up long truck convoys back to the NWFP or Punjab.I have no doubt that in a head-on conflict the Pakistan Army will always win. But winning a battle does not mean you’ve won the war. Something NATO is learning in Afghanistan.The Pakistanis have largely, thus far, fought a few battles but have refused to actually fight the war. That’s the difference. They are where NATO was a few years ago…playing whack-a-mole with insurgents. They have repeatedly refuse to settle in for the long haul in Waziristan. They have made no effort to stabilize the place and bring in development, even though the world has pledged billions if they stay put there. That attitude, unfortunately, is not all that far off from the Bush administration’s idea that counter-insurgency could be fought on the cheap.It’s unfortunate that Paksitanis seem more interested in criticizing NATO’s failures in Aghanistan, than learning from them. We made the same mistakes early on. We focused on killing off the insurgents instead of winning over the population. We did not deploy enough forces to hold ground. We did not deploy enough aid to stabilize the area. Those decisions are all coming back to haunt us now. If the Pakistanis choose not to learn, well that’s their choice. They can keep laughing at us. But sooner or later, they’ll pay the price for making the same mistakes. This is what us in the West have been trying to tell them for so long.I am hoping that this go-around will be different. But I see no evidence yet of any change in attitude. They’ll keep going until the number of bombings go down and they kill enough ‘miscreants’ and then they’ll pull out. In a year or two, they’ll be right back where they started. It’s their history. They haven’t learned from it. So they are doomed to repeat it.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

So better look at NATO/USA failures and in actions in Afghanistan itself!! What was the motivation in removing the check posts in the contiguous border right at the time when Pakistan attacked Taliban in South Waziristan. This helped provide an escape route to and from Afghanistan this is how NATO/USA facilitates your ally Pakistan seal the border?- Posted by rateeMyra requested you keep the tin-foil hat conspiracy theories out of here. Can you do that?They didn’t have enough troops to man the posts. That’s it. There was no grand conspiracy….especially not one to let the Taliban escape into Afghanistan (like we want more of them there). The local commander decided his guys would be better concentrated at a few points than 5-10 men to a post, waiting to be overrun by a 300 man Taliban rush (Nuristan style). They didn’t stop patrolling. They didn’t stop taking on hostiles in their sector either. It was just a change of plans to adjust to the situation at hand.Should there have been better coordination? Yes!Was it some grand conspiracy to screw over the PA? Most certainly not.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

It seems like the same routine gets repeated like a well choreographed production. The militants are using the training that they have received from the US/Pak special forces during the Afghan war and later during the Kashmir insurgency. These chaps are probably more experienced at this kind of warfare than the government forces. Unless Pakistan treats this as a battle to the finish, I dont expect any deliverance from the scourge of terrorism for the region.

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive

Myra,I am afraid you have inadvertently mischaracterised the article by historian Manan Ahmed. “Taliban like elements” operating from Balochistan is quite different from the secular struggle of Balochi people against punjabi exploitation.Balochi ethnic identity and triabl pride are more important to them than Taliban style global jihad. There are still (!) Hindu Balochs being protected by their muslim brothern.http://ramanstrategicanalysis.b logspot.com/2009/07/demonisation-of-balo ch-freedom-struggle.html

I am not suggesting, and nor do I think Manan Ahmed is saying this, that the Pakistani Taliban would make common cause with the Baluch separatists.As discussed here, the region already has a lot of cross-currents, which would only be worsened by any spillover from Waziristan:http://www.reuters.com/articl e/featuredCrisis/idUSLK487913Time magazine has a good take-out:http://www.time.com/time/world/ article/0,8599,1933394,00.htmlMyra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

In Baluchistan, the important issue to watch is cricket. Clearly, the Taliban is anti-cricket. After their attempted kidnap/slaughter of the Sri Lankan team, everyone knew who was a true Pakistani and who was not. The tables turned on the Taliban when ordinary men in Swat Valley, denied Twenty-20 cricket, picked up their guns and went to work. The military, cricket-loving also, suddenly became engaged. Next spring, the thing to watch is whether the Baluchis are playing cricket or not. If not, the Taliban has moved in.

“..it is strategic policy which has not yet evolved, and that is what Pakistan needs in its immediate agenda.” Akmal WasimPerhaps its too early to come to any conclusion about the military operation. There is a very real possibility of the militants having long left the area for safer havens, thanks in part to the adequate warning they had. We need to wait for the dust to settle.However, the real issue, as posed by Akmal Wasim, is about the framework to ensure stability and development, unencumbered by militancy. I think the current civil/military rotation system is what lies at the root of most problems.Politicians and politics need to be allowed and given time to flourish. No army anywhere in the world has ever been able to successfully manage the twin roles of governance and its own operational responsibilities with any degree of lasting success. Eventually it is capable of neither.Though it is easy to say there is no healthy political structure, the fact is that it has never been given a fair chance to evolve itself – it must be allowed to exist even if it be through blunders. Unless this happens, the present system of perpetual crisis management will perforce remain. It is a myth to say that there is no one available. One can’t pull them out of a hat, but, given a chance, they are there.

One major problem for Pakistan is the occupation of Afghanistan by foreign forces. The invasion of Afghanistan by the US and Britain drove many extremists into Pakistan’s FATA, and even the Settled Areas, where the army is now having to deal with them. As a result of foreign meddling there is near anarchy, with the discredited Karzai presiding over a rampantly corrupt regime that lacks legitimacy and domestic support. Every day there are tales of disaster, and one of the results of the mayhem is that Pakistan is coming even more under threat from fanatics.Those of us who hold that foreign armies have no place in Afghanistan (or Pakistan, for that matter), are now presented with a moral difficulty: because if foreign troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan it will become even easier for Taliban (or call them what we will : many insurrectionists are simply Pushtun nationalists) to cross the border from west to east. The unpalatable fact is that if the US and Britain leave Afghanistan to its own horrible devices there will be utter chaos, which will have dreadful effects on Pakistan.The army’s operations in South Waziristan have been markedly successful, thus far. But there is a long way to go, to defeat all the insurgents. As the army pushes further west and north, into the higher mountains, so the militants will be forced to cross into Afghanistan. This will add to the woes – and casualties – of the occupying nations’ armies, and give force to calls for withdrawal by their citizens. (Canada has already declared its intention to leave.)There is no solution to this appalling catastrophe, caused entirely by the gung-ho invasion of 2001. Introduction of 40 or 50,000 more US troops in Afghanistan will only strengthen resistance. There is no possibility of a military victory, as McChrystal has admitted. But neither will any number of troops be able to take and hold ground in sufficient places in order to emplace civil rule and social justice, which now appears to be the objective.Pakistan is going to have to make up its collective mind what to do in the long term about the menace in FATA and NWFP. The army is prepared to continue fighting the extremists – but, as in Afghanistan, there has to be a parallel civil programme of development. It has to be well-structured and involve as many of the tribes as possible. This is the only way forward.And, incidentally, no corruption, please. Mr ten per cent must not get his hands on any of the development cash.Brian Cloughley

Conspiracy theories what do you mean Keith you just write without analyzing as facts are not very important to you? Did not NATO move their check posts from the area contiguous to the border on the same day Pakistan attacked South Waziristan? Did Pakistan not protest the removal of these Check posts? Will it be easier for the Taliban to escape from this area now more easily and get new supplies from Afghanistan?How are the drone attacks in North Waziristan by USA since the attack on South Waziristan helping Pakistan as there is an agreement with Wazir tribe that they will not be attacked by Pakistan? Is USA so impatient that it cannot wait for 2 weeks to attack North Waziristan so Pakistan can easily win in South Waziristan?USA/NATO if sincere could at least help and not make things difficult for Pakistan by doing the opposite of what is required by Pakistan. No one understands the logic of NATO/USA forces in this policy making and Keith you are saying I am espousing conspiracy theory, which am not!! I am asking you nobody understands when a friend NATO/USA does things that are illogical and that are detrimental to Pakistan which is fighting a common enemy.I did not mention any conspiracy in these facts did I? Do you find any logic in these facts please espouse them if you understand them better or your ideas will never reflect any reality!!!

Posted by ratee | Report as abusive

Dear Manish fighting a war in the most rugged terrain where no foreign or outside force has won a army has to plan at least 3-4 months in advance before attacking an enemy. This requires planning, time to implement and plan, move men and supplies and resources. USA/NATO had not been been able to provide the latest equipment for fighting this war as Pakistan had shortage of helicopters and night vision equipment and latest eaves dropping equipment. USA/NATO arranged this equipment after a lot of delays then only Pakistan army started this war. Yes you are right the element of surprise was missing but in the time period before the ground attack Pakistani Air force was already softening these targets for three months.Are you implying Pakistan Army wants to never wants to get rid of TTP so they get hit by terrorists attack daily? Does not seem logical in my books.

Posted by ratee | Report as abusive

Pakistan has been tackling the Taliban problem since Swat and Malakand division defeat of Taliban and now is in the process of uprooting Taliban/Al-Qaida from the main bastion of their bases.On the other hand the whole of Afghanistan has become a safe heaven of Taliban except a few cities. May I ask a question what is the strategy of NATO/USA to up root the Taliban from the various safe heavens in Afghanistan? Why has the Pakistani crises being over publicized when NATO/USA cannot even try to get out of their bases to take on the Taliban or AL-Qaida?Maybe its a divergence from the main issues and tell the world that every fault lies with Pakistan and the Western media always is a tool to be used whether you lie about nuclear capabilities of Iraq or AL-Qaida in Iraq. Things do not change in your press you just make everyone believe that this is the whole truth!!!

Posted by ratee | Report as abusive

I think that after swat operations it was much clearer that the south waziristan will also be invaded. So there was no as such any element of surprise. The problem arose when the Pakistan Army gave them almost 3 months to prepare and plan their counter offensive. I think enough resources would have been in place to start this operation by end july instead waiting for them to strike first at GHQ and proclaim initiative. Now pakistan army has to fight at another front which Hitler faced in russia ‘weather’. By end november the temperature will become freezing, it wont be a big problem for guerilla fighters who operate in small numbers with small supplies and little mobility requirements. However army operate in much more organized manner with supply lines etc and weather may stall their offensive. That may be a big oppurtunity for the taliban for a counter offensive and they may even turn the tables. The ttp commander have expressed these views in media which shows that they have back-up of military thinkers behind them. The origin of those ‘thinkers’ is a big question mark.However I must say that Pakistanis must not lose heart they have quite a few cards they can play with. Airpower is one. All we need is a Rommell and thats where our weekness lies our incapable leadership both military and civilian. Due to our deficiencies in leadership our strenghs have become our weaknesses and our weaknesses are over-exposed. For example our nuclear program was suppose to protect us not vice-versa. Foreign powers are undermining our military abilities and offering help to control or secure our nuclear program. But there is no one to tell them that 100000 iraqis died in iraq while there were hundreds of thousands of american and other troops were stationed in Iraq so how could they claim that they have better security plan. Also there is no one to foresee that if they allowed a significant number of marines/blackwater guards to station in Islamabad, then who is going to afghanistan for jihad. Instead our capital and cities will burn and they are burning.I think its time for pakistan to seek safe exit from this war. Americans keep their dolar bil and we keep our ounce of blood. Its wise not to fight for a side destined to lose tomorrow or day after.

Posted by Kam | Report as abusive

Are you implying Pakistan Army wants to never wants to get rid of TTP so they get hit by terrorists attack daily? Does not seem logical in my books.- Posted by rateeJust as it does not seem logical to us, when you accuse the West of supporting the Taliban or tolerating them.—————–Do you find any logic in these facts please espouse them if you understand them better or your ideas will never reflect any reality!!!- Posted by rateeYou clearly don’t read. Go over my post again. I explained why the observation posts were moved.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

I think its time for pakistan to seek safe exit from this war. Americans keep their dolar bil and we keep our ounce of blood. Its wise not to fight for a side destined to lose tomorrow or day after.- Posted by KamI wish more Pakistanis would be just as honest. If you want the West to abandon you, we have no problem with that at all. You don’t have to fight on our behalf (even though the militants are attacking your country). And we won’t give you aid, nor our support at the IMF board of directors. After all, why should Pakistan be treated any differently from any other developing country that needs an IMF loan? Why should it get some of the lightest conditions ever (and even more lightly enforced) simply because the US/UK/Europe consider you an ally? I fully support the IMF imposing conditions on Pakistan that it imposes on other recipients such as the doubling of personal taxation and the removal of all subsidies on food staples and gasoline in Pakistan. And of course, don’t expect discounted rates for US arms under the US Foreign Military Sales program. Your military can buy all its stuff, full price from China. And don’t expect our diplomatic intervention, the next time you have a tussle with India or Afghanistan either.If you don’t want to take care of our interests, why should we take care of yours? If most Pakistanis, feel that way, the West has no problem obliging. All your government has to do is speak up. But don’t cry about being abandoned the next time you go to the IMF for a loan (and end up with the same conditions they slap on everyone else) or have your backs against the wall with another Kargil. Anytime your government is willing, the West is ready to oblige. Western taxpayers are getting rather sick of pouring their money into a pit where it all disappears and there’s no improvement in your country to show for it.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

There Pakistan Army should look into drafting these guys:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_as ia/8339549.stm

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

As a result of foreign meddling there is near anarchy…..caused entirely by the gung-ho invasion of 2001.-Posted by Brian CloughleyThat’s right. Gung-ho invasion American invasion in 2001 started it. Gung-ho sponsorship of Taliban terrorist regime in Afghanistan by Pakistan army/ ISI pre-2001 contributed to world peace. Gung-ho planning for Sep 11th attacks from Afghanistan spread brotherly love.Are you the real Mr. Cloughley who writes in pak media coming up with twisted arguments to justify Pakistan army’s sponsorship of terrorism and its imperialistic, territorial ambitions?!Making statements like above lowers your credibility further below that of the Pakistan army and ISI you advocate on behalf of.

There is no doubt that our Army can wipe out terrorism (foreign sponsored) from South Wazirastan in few days to come. Now there is a need that our political leadership should come forward and start dialogue at point of strength with our tribal leaders in the area for a lasting peace.The purpose of the operation as I perceive was to eliminate those militants which were backed by RAW, CIA and KHAD. Most of them have been killed in Swat and S. Waziristan. Remaining are people of Mahsud tribe who got astray by these militants of Uzbek , Tajik, Aran nationalities. This is right time now to negotiate and strike a deal in the best interest of Pakistan.

Posted by Aishaa | Report as abusive

The Pashtuns will never be defeated, there are 50 million of them, they don’t recognize British boundaries!

Posted by fred | Report as abusive

The purpose of the operation as I perceive was to eliminate those militants which were backed by RAW, CIA and KHAD.-Posted by Aishaa-Another pathetic, baseless, fabricated, unproven lie. Just for good measure you forgot Mossad!Most of them have been killed in Swat and S. Waziristan. Remaining are people of Mahsud tribe who got astray by these militants of Uzbek , Tajik, Aran nationalities. This is right time now to negotiate and strike a deal in the best interest of Pakistan.-Posted by Aishaa-Like the same deal Pakistan struck in Swat then the Taliban moved into neighbouring Bunar consequently breaking the deal? This will really make the USA happy, that they are paying you to destroy the monsters Pakistan created and allowed to fester on its soil. You want to strike up deals? So you want it both ways: aid from USA and have deals with terrorists. Are you going to give them a share of the USA aid money?Its with comments like these that my opinion of Pakistan and its people gets less and less. With this my sympathies also decrease with every bomb attack.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Another day…another attack.At least 24 people were killed and 42 others injured in a powerful car bomb blast at Farooq-e-Azam Chawk in Charsadda, Geo News quoted hospital sources as saying Tuesday.For every handful of terrorists the Pakistan forces ‘claim’ to have killed; the terrorists strike back with greater vengence on the public. This attack and nor the previous ones this month indicate that the terrorists have been subdued.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Addendum to my earlier post in response to post by bulletfishSwat deal was a trap to bring all the militants including foreign sponsored into Swat (celebrating their victory) and find refuge. That is why, I perceive, this ploy worked and all of them were trapped and taken by surprise when Swat operation was launched.I did not add the name of Mossad intentionally as they are mending ways with Pakistan and Pakistan too with them. Especially in the years of Pervez Musharraf as President of Pakistan.That process still continues.

Posted by Aisha | Report as abusive

The purpose of the operation as I perceive was to eliminate those militants which were backed by RAW, CIA and KHAD.-Posted by AishaaCan you provide any unbiased, independent (preferably non-Pakistani) sources to corroborate your assertions that these militants are backed by all these foreign organizations?Seems to stretch logic a bit that the CIA would be attempt to destabilize Pakistan while the State department pumps in billions. Can you explain how and why that would happen?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Aishaa you write:”I did not add the name of Mossad intentionally as they are mending ways with Pakistan and Pakistan too with them. Especially in the years of Pervez Musharraf as President of Pakistan.That process still continues.”Interesting. Could you shed more light on the details? In what tasks did Mossad work with Pakistan? And how is this “understanding” developing? As far as I know, India has been working with Israel in countering terrorism.Also, I’d like you to shed some light on RAW involvement with specific examples that can be referenced to some authentic source. We all know about the CIA. Please do not quote Rehman Malik who is becoming a clown as days go by.

“There is no doubt that our Army can wipe out terrorism (foreign sponsored) from South Wazirastan in few days to come. Now there is a need that our political leadership should come forward and start dialogue at point of strength with our tribal leaders in the area for a lasting peace.”Are you serious?? Our army is not going to be able to wipe out terrorism. NOt for a long long time. These people are here to stay, I dont know who sent them, maybe we created them ourselves. But the fact remains that our government hasnt really provided for anyone. The private schools and universities are the only places providing education worth having.Same goes for other institutions. But that doesnt mean that we pick up bombs and destroy our own country. So why these people are doing what theyre doing is a mystery to me. For those who argue its India, its a little hard for me to believe. I mean they’re the next super power. Why would they want to destroy Pakistan? We are no competition. There are some that say they never really accepted partition, to that I say they’ve done well for themselves. They dont need a small piece of land.. So who is doing this and why??Bulletfish – I dont know where you’re from. But your opinion of Pakistanis doesnt make an iota of a difference. And if you dont care about loss of human life after reading the comments of a few, then you have issues.

Posted by Sama | Report as abusive

“The purpose of the operation as I perceive was to eliminate those militants which were backed by RAW, CIA and KHAD” – Posted by AishaaYou’re echoing the sentiments of many of your fellow Pakistanis on this blog, who’ve made similar statements before you but failed to provide any legitimate, verifiable & independent source for these claims, when asked to. The question is, can you succeed, where they have, so miserably failed?And when I say a legitimate source, I don’t mean a Retired Pakistani General or a Pakistani ‘defense analyst’. As a side-note, it seems that the only qualification needed to be a ‘defense analyst’ in Pakistan these days, is being unemployed.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Pakistan army is only qualified to suppress and dominate the ordinary citizens which it has done for the past fifty years. Who created Taliban and Al Qaida ? The answer is open; Pak Army, US and Saudi Arabia all have been involved to grind their own axes; Pak Army to find strategic depth against India, US to back the fight against Communist Russia and Saudis to promote their own version of Islam and beat Iran in Afghanistan. End result: a franstein’s monster that threatens its makers and Pakistan being the governance mess it has been, is the easiest target.Radicalism is a mindset, the more you use force, the worse it gets. The only solution is a welfarist government and proper educational system. If people are protected by the government, have a say in its functioning and hold it acountable and people receive education showing them right from wrong and above all, show them that there is bright future for them ahead and suicide bombing is illegal even under Islam, that can probably turn the tide.Otherwise, I am convinced that this could be a very long, bloody struggle in which Pakistan and Pakistanis will suffer the most; much worse than Afghanistan which has a far smaller population and far less to lose.

Posted by Legal Eagle | Report as abusive

We are fast approaching the year end, and people around the world would be celebrating the holiday period and the year year. Let me tell you a short story. Once upon a time a lad was raised in an american family, taught all the decent things the americans know of, including the daily/weekly chorus of putting the garbage bin outside the house for garbage collectors. Like many others the family made progress and were even able to sent this lad along with his brothers to college. The family acquired lots of wealth and were even in a position to support this lad avoid the military service.This overprortion support made this lad alcohalic and a good for nothing in the society. The family recipe was to support him take the governership of the adopted state. One gloomy day for the good world he became the President of the country although the vote count was faulty and total was manupalated.(I am not referring to the Afghan election, knowing that dr abdullah is currently in Florida with his grievences about the fraud committed in his country.)His father even organised a bunch of loyal and experienced officers to assist this lad, who considered himself of age now, to run the country. Ofcourse since the lad was a grown up adult now and was ássumed to be alkohal free, he was allowed to keep the task forc himself the decision authority.Now became the interesting time for this grown up lad to do anything he had wished or dreamt of during his childhood.He dug out his favourite books from the attic, whicht he had read during his school days such as Smoking Gun, Billy the kid, How the west was won and indians were eliminated etc. etc. He even told his Dad that the war camaign in Iraq was left incomplete. He suddenly wanted to become the greatest war President,C in Chief of the military, every President in the USA is proud of this title, something unique in the civilised democracies. He needed some spirtual support and promptly got it from his own church leaders. He asked his administration to identify the “axis of evil” countries so that he is able to talk to God and receive blessings before punishing the culprits. He offered heavy rewards against the terrorist with the slogan ” Dead or Allive” frequently used by his ancesters during wild west days. We all know the events of the past decade and irts affects on the world.One would need several decades and very decent leaders around the world to clear up the “sh” this notorious man has left behind. Mr Obama with his clintonian administration is not enough. The wisdom is likely to come from the east, but right now they also in turmoil. As a guest I have only one request, please try not to use the obscene and aggressive vocublary which has been often spoken in North America over the past several decades. My appeal is particularly for the North American and European participants and bloggers of this otherwise excellent home. Please at least try it. I always feel very sorry after using unwarranted words.I am not a racist, though find many cultures and traditions which I find foreign.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

Little King,Bush has been out for nearly a year now. Get over it. It’s Obama’s ball game now.The US is on the verge of starting a pull out from Iraq. After that happens, the full focus will be on “AfPak”. This region avoided the spotlight for years because of Bush’s boneheaded rush through Mesopotamia. No longer.Obama is rightfully doing what Bush should have done. A full and thorough review of the AfPak problem. And I have no doubt that the solution he picks will have massive long term implications for Pakistan. Unfortunately, its a situation of their own making. For 60 years, they’ve avoided investing and developing the tribal areas. They’ve written off these people as ‘savages’. You really should hear how some Pakistanis talk about them. The area has become the epicentre of global jihad and a security threat to virtually everybody. One way or another, Obama will contain the threat. Either he’ll commit to a tougher stance in Afghanistan and demand a lot more from Pakistan. Or he will withdraw from Afghanistan and take a much, much tougher stance on Pakistan (visa restrictions, sanctions, no aid, declaration as a state sponsor of terrorism). Neither option is going to be good for Islamabad. Far better for Islamabad to be active and deal with Waziristan on their own before the US gets around to it.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

@Mr K,you seem to have lots of hopes from the imposters and underrate pushtoons. The UN says Aghanistan is the worst country to be born in! I have different views both Pakistan tribal area and the afgha country are the bust to die in. The Pushtoons/Afghans hve decisively defeated the Brits, the soviets and the American and NATO armies. Every one have to pay to the tribal lords to pass through. Please try it on your next holidays. The Indians are quite used to them, afterall they lived under their raj for centuries. Have a good day.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

@Mr K,Mr Obama slogan was and I quote “Yes,we can”. To me it means that “you can”.He never said that he can. He has already got too much on his plate not to forget the clintonians headed by no other person than hillary clinton. During bush days the real power exercised in the white house was ass igned to the VP. Any idea who is running the show now on the international scene? You have to use the approved US methods of torture to solve this puzzle. In the mean time let us keep our eyes open and follow the new york times, washington Post and the cable net work whose reporters are obtaining the classified info. as in the past by paying lucrative sums to the insiders. Not much different from the govts. in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Let us also hope that the two main protogonists, namely India and Pakistan continue their bickering and blame game so that their distructive potential for the world is reduced.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

@Mr K,You say that the US is on the verge of starting a pull out from Baghdad. Please be a realistic! Who then is going to defend the US property including the biggest embassy in the middle east? Not to forget the large numbers of boots which the Iraqi have been collecting to throw at visiting US dignatries. Have the withdrawn their forces from Germany Japan and the South Korea? And where would these forces be accomodated in the US, along the border with Canada or Mexico. They do not even have the accomodation for the prisoners in their land. I am sorry When people like you do not want to realize that the American President main headech is to find accomodation or jobs for the large military they have. This is no different than the Pakistani Army. And now the good friend of Mr Bush, Mr Manmohan Singh has let them down by converting its reserve dollars into gold. What a great friend! It serves them right to trust the fakirs of the Indian sub-continent, the Afghans, the Pakistanis and now the Indians. Mr Obama has no other choice but to turn over to the great Chinese leaders. Why not? There is no harm trying them. I hope Mr K I have answered all your questions!! Good bye.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive