Future strategy: Military brass in huddle to discuss new US wish list

Published: May 31, 2011

In this picture taken on March 7, 2011, Pakistan Army soldiers take positions at Datta Khel in North Waziristan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Top military commanders are expected to hold a “special meeting” this week to consider the latest US demands, including the initiation of a full-scale operation against the Haqqani network, allegedly based in the North Waziristan Agency.

The meeting of the corps commanders, which is to be chaired by Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, comes in the backdrop of reports suggesting that the government has finally agreed to accept a longstanding US demand to carry out a military offensive in North Waziristan.

However, a military official told The Express Tribune that no such decision had been taken.

According to Reuters, humanitarian agencies active in Pakistan’s northwest have been quietly told to prepare for up to 365,000 displaced people in advance of a military offensive against North Waziristan.

The United States has long been calling for an operation, specifically targeting the Haqqani network, in North Waziristan. The killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad has renewed  US pressure on Pakistan to eliminate “terrorist sanctuaries” from its tribal belt. Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top US commander Admiral Mike Mullen held extensive discussions with the senior Pakistani civilian and military leaders to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The US administration placed on the table certain demands seeking action against militant leaders, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, who heads the deadliest militant group fighting Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Secretary Clinton told reporters at a news conference in Islamabad that Pakistan has agreed to take “specific actions” to show its commitment in the fight against terror. However, she did not elaborate what specific measures Pakistan would undertake in days ahead. “All these issues will be debated in the corps commanders meeting,” said another military official.

He also indicated that a detailed statement is expected to be released after the meeting, clarifying the government’s position on certain issues, including the North Waziristan operation.

“There is a lot being said in the media and you will get our response very soon,” the official added.

He added that Pakistan alone will decide the timing of the North Waziristan operation. “We have more troops in North Waziristan than any other tribal agency but we need to take into account several factors before launching a military offensive there,” the official added. “The Americans certainly want us to do it sooner than later.” But the real question is to analyse the repercussions of the North Waziristan offensive, he added.

“All people in North Wazir­istan are anti-American but do all of them pose a threat to the US interests,” he asked, saying that it was a fundamental issue the US is not ready to understand it. However, some officials did not rule out the possibility of a surgical operation in the tribal agency.

Meanwhile in the background briefing for a select group of journalists, senior defence officials said a Swat-like national consensus was required to launch an assault in North Waziristan.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2011.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (11)

  • muhammad jibran
    May 31, 2011 - 8:40AM

    Forget outsider’s demands,kindly focus on the needs of your people,that is,the reduction of islamic fundamentalism from our armed forces & society.Zia ul haq started his infamous islamisation campaign which has resulted in a large number of islamic extremists in the forces,media & political parties.As has been shown in the recent attacks at ghq & mehran base the religious terrorists had help from the inside & islamic fundamentalists within the ranks of the navy had helped the terrorists to destroy pakistan’s valuable assets.

    The military needs to clean up the religious fanatics from within its ranks & stop protecting the religious extremists as these are not our strategic assets but are now our strategic liabilities.Recommend

  • abdul jabbar
    May 31, 2011 - 8:44AM

    When will the establishment stop feeding the media wild conspiracy theories of yahodi,indian saazish.We saw how after the mehran base attack a lot of the anchors tried to mislead the public by screaming about american,indian,jewish conspiracies to take our nuclear assets,they had a bunch of retired military officers who went from channel to channel propagating the same line,the same narrative that no musalmaan could do this,only a non-muslim pakistani hater could do these attacks.

    Now the truth is out ,the navy itself said that the religious terrorists had help from inside the base,now why don’t those anchors & ‘experts” apologise to the public for leading them astray.Recommend

  • imran yousuf
    May 31, 2011 - 9:05AM

    stop funding,protecting the groups poisoning our society with islamic radicalism.The groups you supported didn’t just limit their activities to jihadi terrorism but their women’s wing & children’s wing started brainwashing women & children in the ways of islamic fundamentalism.From the lady with the five start dars parties to mazhabi channels which spew out the most vile form of religious bigotry to children’s magazines glorifying violence & suicide bombings these religious extremists have spread their tentacles far & wide in our society.

    We need a clear indication from the establishment that they won’t support islamic extremism anymore,otherwise this country won’t survive for much longer. Recommend

  • faraz
    May 31, 2011 - 9:08AM

    The anchors are going bonkers over violation of sovereignty in Abbotbad operation, while the army desperately wants a clean chit over Osama’s presence near PMA Kakul and David Headley Case. Our media is seriously divorced from reality. Recommend

  • Awais
    May 31, 2011 - 9:25AM

    I dont know who’d they be attacking after the Haqqani Network. The jamat-e-islami or the JUI or may be MMA coz US would always want us to kill people among ourselves, We really need to decide who fight for now. or this will be a war of lost causes.Recommend

  • rashid
    May 31, 2011 - 11:48AM

    so our Gov. and Army has finally found the perfect solution to terrorism in Pakistan…..bomb our own people again !!!!!!! and more to this issue, apparently they are going to do on US demand……perfect….what more could we wish as Pakistanis.

    Killing our own people will not only increase anti-pakistan / (anti-pak forces) sentiment in North Waziristan but all over the Pakistan.Recommend

  • Chilli
    May 31, 2011 - 12:09PM

    Supply of dollars is more important to us than national priorities. America will ask keys of Pakistan one day and we will hand over the same for few dollars. After listening to Musharaf’s argument regarding American threat after 9/11, I feel shame of having such a Cheif of the Pak Army. No hope for dignity from current regime too.Recommend

  • Waqar Raja
    May 31, 2011 - 1:14PM

    Finally the point of decision has arrived. Hopefully the decision will be positive and in the interest of Pakistan. Undoubtedly this is our war. However,in the wake of current media hype most of the terrorist present in N Wazirastan must have or trying to move away to other safe sancturies. Dont let this happen as they owe us so much: blood of 35000 shaheeds. Just a reminder that Generals belong to motherland and not to armies. As Quaid said that the safety and honour of your country comes first always and every time. So give a good account of yourselves. Allah be with you and remember that whole nation stand united behind you.Recommend

  • ASQ
    May 31, 2011 - 3:07PM

    another shame military operation in the making!!Recommend

  • observer
    May 31, 2011 - 7:49PM

    @Awais

    I dont know who’d they be attacking after the Haqqani Network.

    Don’t worry. There is the entire alphabet soup beginning with TTP,LeT,JeM,LeJ,SSP and what not.Recommend

  • Jun 2, 2011 - 3:22AM

    You really have a way of words. Great style of delivering the information and I could relate to it. Such a great information for me. Thanks for this.Recommend

More in Pakistan