So much for the Pakistani military offensive in Waziristan

BY Herschel Smith
14 years, 3 months ago

As we discussed in Pakistan Crumbles, the Pakistan Taliban have melted away into the mountains of the Hindu Kush in the face of the Pakistani military offensive against them.  More detail:

… there are those in the diplomatic circles of Islamabad who say the Pakistani military leadership would soon realize that the troops in South Waziristan are actually chasing shadows because the TTP militants have simply melted into the vastness of the inhospitable surrounding territory. It appears that the militants in Waziristan, headed by the Pakistani Taliban – the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan – are bent on a long-term insurgency against the security apparatus. Although tough resistance was expected from up to 10,000 well-trained Taliban guerrilla fighters from the mainly ethnic Pashtun Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan, the military operation has been relatively proved easy so far, to the surprise of many. Fighting small rearguard actions, the Taliban deserted their bunkers and posts in the major towns, leaving space for the troops to occupy. An intelligence official overseeing the spying operations in Waziristan has been recently quoted as saying that many groups of Taliban were spotted moving to Shawal, a remote and inaccessible area near the Afghan border. Dense forests and ravines make the Shwal valley in North Waziristan a perfect terrain for a lethal guerrilla war. “Our troops will not enter the area, at least for now. It is a very difficult area”, the intelligence official was further quoted as saying.

Other Taliban fighters have slipped away into at least four other tribal districts – Orakzai, Mohmand, Bajaur and Kurram – where the TTP controls large swaths of territory. “The militants started to shift their kin and cattle, and ammunition to other tribal districts after the government announced an operation in South Waziristan in May”, said the intelligence official on condition of anonymity. However, according to Javed Hussain, the former commander of Pakistan’s elite commando force – Special Services Group (SSG), the force involved in the offensive is too small to block the secondary routes and traditional smuggling channels used by the Taliban to flee. The troops have so far focused on securing the main town along the three main roads and the bases lost to the Taliban in previous encounters during their three-pronged operation, he added. And the Pakistani government maintains that forcing the Taliban militants to flee has been a success, pointing out the rebels have lost dozens of training facilities, including one to groom suicide bombers. But intensified suicide bombings and raids on civilian and sensitive military installations across the country in recent weeks definitely tell a different story. Security experts in Islamabad are of the view that the Taliban militants’ ability to hit at will has not been minimized – over 300 people killed in such attacks in October 2009 bear testimony to this.

Azam Tariq, a Taliban spokesman, has already vowed to orchestrate a long guerrilla war by early next year, after an end to the snowfall that blocks the important passes, making the movement across the mountainous South Waziristan region of around 6,620 square kilometers very difficult. Analysts, therefore, warn that the Taliban strategy could have dangerous consequences for the Pakistani forces as the militants might regroup and return to South Waziristan with more force and make the troops continually bleed with deadly ambushes, raids and roadside bombings. The Taliban circles say the TTP militants are applying the same strategy which they were trained to use by the Pakistani security forces against the Indian army in Jammu & Kashmir during the 1990s. That included a pattern of not confronting a regular army once it was mobilized; rather, the militants dodged it and opened a new front far from the point of the army’s concentration. And much the same has happened in Pakistan over the past month, with a string of deadly suicide bomb attacks in various parts of the country, including in Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

The Shawal area is a historical staging point for attacks into Afghanistan, and is considered to be a no-man’s landdue to the terrain and inhospitable conditions.


Under-resourcing the campaign, failing to cut off escape routs, failing to engage in the chase, ceding the rural terrain to the enemy, and under-estimating the longevity of the fight.  These are all errors in judgment made by U.S. strategists too.

Yet another bungled attempt to defeat the insurgents … yet another opportunity crashes and burns.  So much for the Pakistani military offensive in Waziristan.  As a concluding thought, Shawal is just South of Parachinar where it is theorized that UBL resides.



The enemy doesn’t feel threatened in this region, a place right on the Afghanistan – Pakistan border.  Does it make any sense to continue to ask the question why we are in Afghanistan?

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  1. On November 20, 2009 at 10:52 am, jbrookins said:

    I hate to comment too much on something I’m not real familiar with but it seems that even if this wasn’t the best plan, keeping the Taliban moving is not bad. Unfortunately living in sparse conditions probably isn’t a problem for most of them.

  2. On November 20, 2009 at 1:34 pm, Warbucks said:

    Thanks for using the map inserts.

    War-thinker’s intuition usually follows the most probable war scenarios.

    Views of the morning mystic:

    It’s a thing we know must be controlled; it is that part of our nature we know must not be rewarded by ego; it’s just the way our collective mind works. Perhaps, we tell ourselves it is God’s way of providing a safety-fuse of reason before it’s too late. It is from that knowing and seeing-intuition a war-thinker must task himself to seek alternatives for humanity’s sake and his own sanity’s sake. We see the most probable outcomes and so do the inflicted Pakistani citizens who fear us. They know too what must be done.

    Pakistan is about to lose control of their country to a UN approved occupation force. They just don’t know it yet. If President Roosevelt needed a Pearl Harbor to override his campaign promises to keep the US out of war, President Obama needs a captured nuke storage silo in Pakistan to motivate Europe and his own radical left wing base…. and perhaps himself. Where are the needed, staggeringly high body counts of enemy dead produced by the Pakistan forces and verified by our own observers?

    To save their country, Pakistan has to deliver verified, staggeringly high body counts of dead enemy terrorists and violent-radical fundamentalist-Islamacists to the foot of the alter of human reason, and they are not — no more Duran Line ping-pong using American tolerance to grant 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th … chances. To this end, one should expect to see staggering deceptions and trickery of war.

    10-years of war-on-terror is validating the West’s dualistic religious view, black and white views, of Islam and blurring our sensitivities to its dominant, beautiful, historic truth of their original great belief system. Failure to take care of their own, failure to handle their own violent, radical fundamentalists within their own society now finally comes into focus and understanding of a complicity wrought by systemic corruption within the Muslim global power structures. The West will not wait for Islamic Reformation.

    This Gordian Knot of complexities of corruption can only be untied with the sword of human rath severing this ancient knot with a single well placed blow. Shock and awe will seem trite in comparison. Great houses will fall in the East and in the West.

    A classical war tactic of full blown Pincer Movement of total envelopment, containment, and eradication with such high body-counts of the dead, verified by international forces, inflicted upon the noble Pashtun regions on both sides of the Duran Line and along the entire Kush, is the most likely war scenario. It must (or will) be so severe as to give pause to the high-most ruling Pashtun Jirga to re-think their ancient, well vested sense of demographic invulnerability.

    Your prayers to find other peaceful ways to effectively end the terror and ending the War on Terror can alter our future in peace and prosperity for all mankind. This is the dawning of the new age. We are holding collective powers so great we simply do not even realize our own strength through prayer as yet. May Christ return to Earth. Miracles do happen and humans can bring them into being. This may not seem compelling when RPG rounds are heading towards you, but those of us in the rear echelons can make a difference.

    Be fearless, be humble, be loving, seek truth.

    On a completely different orientation, speaking to a much higher quality of being than my mumblings above, any “Friend” i.e. “Member” of our little blog, who sends me their mailing address by December 15, 2009 (use the private direct message feature among Members), we will in turn send you back a free copy of a rather spiritually engaging little book called “The Naked Now” by bestselling author… Richard Rohr. I believe Richard Rohr is an important spiritual teaching figure who’s work will hold historical significance. May the light and love of God and Christ fill your awareness and bring you inner peace, understanding and love. Supplies are limited:

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You are currently reading "So much for the Pakistani military offensive in Waziristan", entry #4235 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Pakistan,Tehrik-i-Taliban,Waziristan and was published November 20th, 2009 by Herschel Smith.

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