N Waziristan offensive: Plan put on hold for indefinite period

Published: January 11, 2011
Full-scale military offensive against Haqqani network in NWA postponed; drone attacks to continue to target militants. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Full-scale military offensive against Haqqani network in NWA postponed; drone attacks to continue to target militants. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has postponed for an indefinite period a full-scale military offensive against the Haqqani network in the North Waziristan tribal region because of the freezing winter, which normally lasts more than six months in these parts, The Express Tribune has learnt on authority.

In the meantime, US pilot-less aircraft will continue to target Taliban ‘sanctuaries’ in North Waziristan and elsewhere in the tribal belt as the only available options to weaken the insurgents, a source told The Express Tribune.

This is notwithstanding Pakistan’s official position that US drone attacks are an infringement on its sovereignty and stoke anti-Americanism in the country due to increasing civilian casualties.

North Waziristan’s terrain is extremely difficult from a logistic point of view. Analysts say it is one of the main reasons for Pakistan Army’s reluctance to go after the Haqqani network. Moreover, the Obama administration has not provided the special equipment the Pakistan Army needs for such an operation.

Interestingly, most of the US aid provided to Pakistan’s armed forces is in the shape of “work services”, such as overhauling of transport and helicopter gunships.

Recently US contractors overhauled a number of helicopters at a cost three times higher than what is normally charged, the source said. And the overhauling was of poor quality and the helicopters had to be grounded again for maintenance.

“Taking the ongoing war in the tribal areas and other regions to its logical conclusion is the first and foremost priority for the Pakistan Army,” another source told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan has been under pressure from the US for launching a full scale offensive in North Waziristan. The Foreign Office, however, has denied any US pressure. It says the operation will be launched only if it is in the interest of Pakistan.

David Ignatius, a Washington Post associate editor, quoted a senior US military official in Islamabad as telling him that the US debate about Pakistan was becoming “hyper-focused” on a demand that Pakistan Army attack North Waziristan.

The official told Ignatius that he believed Pakistan was incapable of meeting this demand because its forces were “stretched too thin”.

“The harder Washington pushes for a crackdown, the more Islamabad seems to resist. And the explanation is simple. The two countries’ interests differ on this one: America, with its forces exposed in Afghanistan, wants action now. Pakistan, facing a nationwide campaign of terrorism, wants to concentrate on its internal threat,” Ignatius said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • khan
    Jan 11, 2011 - 11:21AM

    Pakistan has suffered a lot in war against terrorism and the Americans should realize this fact. it is sad that why the government in Pakistan is not able to pursue an agenda on diplomatic fronts which can create calm internally in a very noisy environment. the more the America compels Pakistan for military operation in FATA the more will be internal pressure in the shape of suicide bombs and other terrorist activities. so Pakistan is bleeding because of its role in war against terror. and we cannot simply move on with this soaring wound and had to find out a remedy for this crises. this drama should end now. if the America is only considers the solution of this trouble through war than they should not indulge us , and do what ever they want. but they should realize that war is not a solution to some problems and now it is time to give diplomacy a chance.Recommend

  • Jan 11, 2011 - 2:54PM

    Pakistan Army is not stupid enough to drive an Axe through Pakistan. Entering North Waziristan will be the last mistake. This is America’s war. They should fight it themselves.

    90% of the Taliban are based, trained and bred on the Afghan side of the Durand Line. If the US cannot defeat/control them, then why does it keep blaming Pakistan for the 10% balance that comes from NW? Only because the US wants to wreak further havoc in Pakistan and make sure that the two countries are not at good terms with each other when the US runs away from Afghanistan!Recommend

  • Anoop
    Jan 11, 2011 - 7:16PM

    Aid from NATO too should be put on hold for an indefinite period.Recommend

  • GG
    Jan 11, 2011 - 8:03PM

    the world should just create a NO INTERFERENCE ZONE and NO ENTRY zone around AfPak region and let their people sort it ot for themselves. Why pay them to clean-up their own mess? They can either clean it up and prove to the rest of the humanity that they want to a part of them or can live in their own barbarian land and not bother the rest of the humanity. Recommend

  • Jan 11, 2011 - 8:47PM
  • Cautious
    Jan 12, 2011 - 5:51AM

    No surprise – Pakistan claims a territory as sovereign then doesn’t lift a finger to properly administer it and lets terrorist use it as a sanctuary. I suspect that one day the USA will finally figure out that Pakistan is the real problem – they should just unilaterally declare the tribal areas as not part of Pakistan and clean out the area on their own. Let the Pakistan govt give the military an order to take on the USA military – love to be in the room when that happens.Recommend

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