5 years, 8 months ago
One of the cornerstone tactics of counterinsurgency is aggressive dismounted patrols. The Taliban are taking a page from our book, but to aid their insurgency.
The Islamic fundamentalist threat to Pakistan is reaching frightening proportions as Taliban militants infiltrate the key city of Peshawar, boldly attacking military headquarters and NATO supply routes and seeking to spread Islamic rule.
Taliban militants who have been tightening their control outside Peshawar for months have for the first time been patrolling inside the city of 3 million, several eyewitnesses told The Washington Times. The militants last week attacked NATO transit terminals on the Ring Road, a key thoroughfare, and kidnapped officials within the city, including a deputy superintendent of police.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Pakistani police officers beat protesters during clashes near Peshawar on Wednesday. Taliban militants in the city last week attacked NATO transit terminals on the Ring Road, a key thoroughfare, and kidnapped officials within the city.
Peshawar is a new front line for Pakistan in the struggle to contain the Taliban. Just two hours by car from Islamabad, Peshawar is the capital of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and sits astride the route through which 75 percent of NATO supplies for Afghanistan pass.
This isn’t the only province seeing Taliban patrols.
Local Taliban have increased patrolling and set up checkposts in their Lower Dir stronghold after seeing paramilitary vehicles in the area, residents and other sources told Daily Times on Saturday.
A convoy of six vehicles carrying paramilitary personnel visited the Shago Hayaserai site on Wednesday – where the Lower Dir district police officer and former district nazim Alam Zeb Khan had been killed last Sunday. Local Taliban commander Hafeezullah said the military had violated an “informal peace accord” in the area by travelling without prior consultation with the Taliban. “Therefore we are alerting our force to combat the army in case we are attacked,” he said, adding that peace in the area was being disturbed by the government as part of a conspiracy to pave way for another military operation. Residents say the Taliban have started patrolling on the roads for the first time in the area, carrying weapons and checking vehicles. Several families are leaving their homes. The sources said the Taliban patrol roads in Kumbar, Lal Qilla, Bagh, Bandai and Shadas in the day and have faced no resistance. They have set up checkposts at Shakar Tangi, Kaladag, Shadas, Bijligar Hayaserai and parts of the Upper Maidan.
Lower Dir is to the North of Peshawar, and Peshawar is the capital of the North-West Frontier Province. The insurgency is wide spread through these regions of Pakistan. South and North Waziristan are already lost to Baitullah Mehsud and other commanders. Aggressive patrolling means that the insurgency is at a very advanced stage, and time is short to confront the problem head-on and defeat the Taliban militarily. The Pakistan Army must forget about its imaginary threats and obsession with India and confront their real internal threats.