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North Waziristan issue

Published Aug 13, 2012 12:30am


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THE rumour mill has been in overdrive since ISI chief Gen Zahirul Islam’s recent visit to the US: will there or won’t there be some kind of military action taken in North Waziristan by the Pakistan Army? Predictably, the Pakistani side first outright denied the leaks in the American media from US officials presumably in the know, and then introduced shades of grey. Some kind of coordination across the Pak-Afghan border against militant sanctuaries in North Waziristan is not the same as ‘joint operations’, army officials first insisted. Now, as reported yesterday, the script has moved forward some more: if any action is to be taken in North Waziristan, Pakistan will expect US and Afghan forces on the other side of the border to prevent targets in North Waziristan from fleeing into Afghanistan. The unnamed official spoke of ‘sealing the border’, though more likely it would be a variant of the hammer-and-anvil strategy that has over the years been touted as the only credible model for ensuring that militants squeezed on this side of the border don’t flee into Afghanistan and vice versa.

Is the drip-drip of leaks meant to prepare the country for a U-turn in policy on North Waziristan or is this just another game of cat and mouse with the US? On the ground, in North Waziristan itself, there is no sign of an imminent military operation. While the security forces in the agency number over 40,000 – two army divisions, a Frontier Corps force and sundry local security personnel – and the national and Fata disaster management agencies have long been told to prepare contingency plans for an outflow of IDPs, at the moment the reports from the area do not indicate any signs of a military operation about to be launched. Similarly, on the Afghan side, where Khost, Paktia and Paktika are the obvious destinations for militants fleeing from North Waziristan, there is no sign yet that American or Afghan forces are gearing up for a battle with militants who may soon arrive.

In trying to determine the likelihood of a military operation in North Waziristan at the moment, it may help to recall what the Americans have pushed Pakistan to do: one, squeeze the flow of money to the Haqqanis; two, sever the information links that keep the Haqqanis one step ahead of the Americans; and three, dismantle the Miranshah hub that the Americans are convinced exists. So perhaps if not a major military operation, some other measures are being contemplated on the Pakistani side. But then, are half-measures in North Waziristan really in the interest of Pakistan?

Comments (12) Closed

Iftikhar Husain Aug 14, 2012 10:51am
Very good editorial North Waziristan and Khyber Agencies are two important ares where work is needed to bring peace to north west it must be done as soon as possible.
NASAH (USA) Aug 13, 2012 12:33pm
Seeing is believing.
kamal Aug 13, 2012 12:21pm
Good article. Brief, informative, and to the point!
Falcon Aug 13, 2012 10:30am
Good article. Brief, informative, and to the point!
Wellwisher Aug 13, 2012 02:58am
Halfhearted attempts will land Pakistan into more prolonged troubles. BEWARE.
aamir Aug 13, 2012 02:44pm
G.A. Aug 13, 2012 05:18pm
Its would be nice if we do not go for war again for others' interests.
Ahmed Aug 13, 2012 06:25pm
Pakistan is perhaps the only country in the world where the mainstream press questions whether bringing law and order is in the national interest!! God help Pakistan from itself.
Asif Ansari Aug 14, 2012 12:11am
American drone strikes squeeze the Pakistani plan against war on terrorism. After the visit of ISI chief on Washington DC, they demanded that they do more military involvement in this particular region (Afghanistan and Pak-Afghan border areas) is the need of Americans' politics, this is all have been done for the American politics. Pakistan's military officials especially ISI chief and over-all Army Chief Mr. Kayani think again and again. We are getting trouble too much in agencies areas, Americans want to involve us in these areas at the last time, it is not in the Americans' interest that Pakistani forces get rest, America wants Pakistan's army always be involved and doing operations in agencies areas. Destroy Haqqani network, another American game plan. So must think very seriously. Pakistan first is our only option.
gulshan Aug 14, 2012 02:10am
For others? Islamic Republic of Pakistan is burning of her own lighted sparklets. Wake up and smell the coffee. American donations will dry up. Make use of it while they are coming.
Major Ex-SSG(Ret) Aug 14, 2012 04:01am
How sad and ultimately self-destructive it is when a military contemplates killing its own people at the behest and orders of foreigners who not too long ago attacked and killed 24 of its own ill-equipped troops. Those who do not value and honor their own should not expect any better from others.
ravindra sharma Aug 14, 2012 04:03am