Pakistan’s Ground Offensive in North Waziristan
Pakistan’s army has begun a major ground offensive against the Taliban in North Waziristan. The operation is the biggest military campaign of the country’s military against Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan since the 2007 operation in Swat valley. According to Pakistani officials, hundreds of militants have been killed during past weeks in army aerial attacks in Miranshah of North Waziristan. Pakistan’s military officials have suggested that this time they will not discriminate between the so-called bad Taliban and good Taliban. Despite the military action, that was ensued the bold Taliban attack last month on Karachi airport, there is now questions over whether the Pakistani military is willing to eliminate all Taliban and Al-Qaeda affiliates in the region.
The military campaign against the militant groups in North Waziristan is a sort of last-ditch attempt from the Pakistani army to punish the militants for organizing attacks on Pakistani interest. This offensive, which was carried out after the Pakistani Taliban carried out a major assault on Karachi airport, is suggesting that the military is not going to tolerate the TTP if the militant group target Pakistan’s interests and launch terrorist attacks in Pakistani cities and towns. In the past, Pakistan was not willing to start a full-scale offensive against the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan who has been waging a deadly war against the Pakistani military in recent years. Unlike the civilian government, the army has been willing to take tougher stance against the Taliban.
Operating under a loose control of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, the militant groups have turned Pakistan’s cities and towns into a scene of bloodbath in recent years and the country has been witnessing violence emanated from extremism on daily basis. Given that Pakistan’s new government plan for talks with the militant groups is almost failed, the operation is suggesting that the country is now giving up to the efforts to open a peace talks with the TTP to curb the militancy. In the meantime, the new head of the army has shown that he is going to have a much-tougher stance against the menace of the militancy and the threats they have posed to Pakistan.
The recent offensive against militants in the tribal frontier region would also be welcomed by the US who has long been demanding Pakistan to carry out military operation against the militant groups based in the tribal regions, and by the Afghan government who accused Pakistan of not doing enough to eliminate the safe havens of the terrorist groups based on its soil who supported the long-lasting insurgency in Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has constantly called on the US and Pakistani government to curb the militancy in Pakistan’s tribal northwestern areas that is perceived to provide weapons and fighters for the militants fighting in Afghanistan.
However, Pakistan has long resisted the US demands to carry out extensive military operation in North Waziristan for rooting the militant groups. As the TTP failed to enter serious negotiations with Islamabad, the possibility is building up that the Pakistani army may prepare for completely rooting out the militants.