Pakistan Press on Waziristan Campaign

The battle for Waziristan
By Sayed Bokhari
DAWN.Com Sunday, 18 Oct, 2009

The army has spent weeks cutting off militants’ escape routes and softening
up targets in the region, using limited intelligence-led ground and air strikes.
— Photo by AP

Though military operations are launched unannounced to catch the enemy off guard, the case of Operation Rah-i-Nijaat has been altogether different.

While at the time of writing troop movement and reports emanating from Peshawar indicated that the operation had begun in South Waziristan, since June there have been regular indications that the army was ready to start hostilities against the Taliban in the area.

This strategy may have been initiated to give ample time to the civilian population of Waziristan to leave for safer places and convert the area into a battlefield where the security forces could unleash their arsenal without causing too much collateral damage.  Snip

Figures vary, but it is estimated that Waziristan is home to more than 5,000 hardened militants besides some 2,000 Uzbek fighters. The total strength of the enemy in the area is said to be 10,000.  Snip

In view of the operation that appears to have begun, the army placed two divisions consisting of 27,000 soldiers to take on an estimated 10,000 hard-core Taliban militants. The army has spent weeks cutting off militants’ escape routes and softening up targets in the region, using limited intelligence-led ground and air strikes.

It is believed that over the past three months the army has been drawing up plans, holding in-depth deliberations and carrying out critical analyses of past actions in the area. One issue that the army would have deliberated on is that of the peace accords drawn up in the past that only helped the militants gain respite from hostilities and a chance to reorganise. Another measure that has been taken to paralyse the militants in the area is the placement of an economic blockade since last June. This measure is said to have restricted supplies to the Taliban. It is hoped that it would further squeeze the fighting ability of the militants.

South Waziristan:
Operation against Terrorists Launched

‘Pakistan Times’ Federal Bureau Oct. 18

Security forces patrol streets in a vicinity of Waziristan,
Sat, Oct. 17, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The security forces of the country have launched an operation against the terrorist elements in South Waziristan.  Snip

Director General (DG) Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Ather Abbas said Pak Army operation has been started against the extremists in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) last night, a report said Saturday.

Talking to media here, he said Pak Army is engaged in gunbattle at various points in the SWA.

According to military sources, there are 1000 to 1500 militants present in the SWA and the operation is being launched after three-month siege of the extremists.

Meanwhile, a report from Wana says that fighter jets of security forces pounded militants’ positions in South Wazirisitan, killing 11 terrorists and destroying 2 hideouts during the ongoing military operation on Saturday.  Snip

According to details, a security man was martyred and three others injured in an remote detonated bomb attack on a vehicle of security forces in Karkunray area near Jandola in SWA. The military forces repulsed and pounded militants’ positions in Karkunray with the help of fighter jets.   Snip

Political administration has said that the military’s infantry have begun operation against terrorists from three sides. It said over 4000 to 5000 terrorists are present in the area, most of them are hiding in Mehsud area. Snip

After launch of security forces operation against militants, massive migration from Shakoi and Zangra areas of South Waziristan is going on.

Security forces battle militants in South Waziristan
Oct 18

Pakistan has mounted numerous offensives against militants in its northwest since 2002, meeting with limited success and costing the lives of 2,000 troops.
— Photo by AP

PESHAWAR: Security forces pounded Taliban positions with heavy artillery on Sunday, pressing a major operation in South Waziristan for a second day and reportedly killing up to 20 militants.

Meanwhile, DawnNews reported that 10 militants and two security officials had been killed in clashes as troops moved deeper into South Waziristan and a curfew remained imposed in Wana, Mirali and Miramshah.  Snip

The rugged district is part of a tribal belt on the Afghan border that US officials call the most dangerous place in the world, home to thousands of Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked fighters branded a major threat to the west.  Snip

‘We estimate that around 100,000 more people can be displaced (beyond the 90,000 who have already flet), say a total of around 150,000 to 200,000 people can be displaced,’ Colonel Waseem Shahid, from an army support group, told AFP.

There were heavy clashes in mountainous forest at Sharwangi and near Spinkai Raghzai, which the army said it captured after nightfall.

Troops established a checkpoint en route to Kotkai, the home town of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.


Pakistani Bloggers  Oct 18, 2009

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