Kamra attack — so who is our real enemy?

Published: August 16, 2012

KARACHI: This is with reference to the attack by militants on the PAF Kamra airbase. The air force did well to fight the militants and stop them from causing any major damage to the base. The fact that the militants could not penetrate the defence and were defeated sends a good message to the planners and executers of these attacks: that ‘we are prepared no matter when and with what force you come’.

Can we now as a nation decide who our real enemy is? Is it not time that we decided that this is our war and not a war thrust on us by the Americans? Unfortunately, the military strategy adopted by our armed forces has been too open-ended. For the last ten years the army has set no realistic goals or time limits for meeting the targets which could translate into comprehensive victory or defeat. All that the army can claim is that it has managed to disrupt the Taliban, which in military terms means degrading their capacity to launch organised attacks. Even this is not true, as the current attack on Kamra indicates: disrupting the Taliban has, at best, only caused them to scatter. Now they have hideouts/ cells/networks all over the country and can plan and execute attacks at will.

If we have to succeed in the war against terror the army has to review its military strategy to fight the Taliban. And it must include in its mission statement the following: “Dismantle and destroy the Taliban as a force.” The state and the government must also support and provide the political will and legitimacy to our armed forces to redirect its strategy to combat the militancy being proliferated by the Taliban. The army cannot afford to allow the war on terror to amble along aimlessly and without a clear-cut purpose because the militants will not stop targeting its interests. Besides, with every attack and even partial success, fingers will be raised on the army’s professional abilities and competence, this it cannot afford.

Furthermore, the initiation of army operations in North Waziristan may not necessarily guarantee victory in the war on terror but the inability and unwillingness of the army to do this is surely a guarantee of failure/defeat. Destroying safe heavens in Fata is central to the military making any headway in the war on terror. The Swat operation cost the army $2.5 billion while the war in Afghanistan is costing America at least $50 billion a year. With all this money spent, the results on ground are not as encouraging as military planners both in the US and Pakistan would like them to be.

The Pakistan army also needs to seriously plan a counter-terrorism effort, and for this the Americans need to support our army and ensure that it is not under-resourced as it goes ahead to implement its plan. Nothing will work unless the border is controlled.  For this US will have to come forward with an actionable plan on the Afghan side of the border that supports the Pakistan army’s effort.

Attacks like the one on Kamra are only a reminder to the armed forces, the public and their elected representatives that this war is very much our own and we will not win it unless we don’t fight it.

Lt-Col. (retd) Muhammad Ali Ehsan

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • mkazam
    Aug 16, 2012 - 9:29PM

    As every body knows that Taliban are pursuing the 1000 years back dreams. khalafat was disowened by Tarkish Leader ship at second world war. And new mindset was made to live in contemporary world.This is the only way to survive , otherwise other nations will make us slave.
    No nation can survive while ignoring the current era. So when we are fighting with taliban ; actually we rejecting the idea to go back. It is to be understood that you can stop the wheel of
    evolution temporarily but can reverse it.Recommend

  • Qaiser Mehdi
    Aug 16, 2012 - 11:33PM

    Dear, excellent and beautiful thought and well presented, lovely, and fine representation of every Pakistani heart felt feelings.If u want to know the real enemy of Islam, study Taliban.Recommend

  • Ben
    Aug 17, 2012 - 2:27AM

    Even a novice in the art of mass media would know that the real target of TTP militants was Saab 2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircrafts. They were not even interested in the assembly line of JF Thunder aircraft being co-produced at Kamra. This attack is a rerun of a similar attack on Naval Air Base, Mehran where the target was P3C Orion aircraft used for Long Range Marine Patrol. The motive of the attack was to damage Pakistan’s sophisticated and expensive defense capabilities. TTP which claims to be fighting the occupation forces in Afghanistan are actually fighting to cripple Pakistan’s defense mechanism. And who should be behind these terrorists is not a million dollar question. Read more at: http://passivevoices.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/kamra-attack-ttp-is-fighting-indias-proxy-war-in-pakistan/


  • Maria
    Aug 17, 2012 - 10:03AM

    It would appear that the Indians are supporting their agents to cause trouble in Pakistan but they have been thwarted once again.


  • Aarvey,india
    Aug 17, 2012 - 2:35PM

    The retd. Lt.Col hit the right nail. Dismantle and destroy the Taliban as a Force. Nothing else should matter. Recommend

  • Raasid Khatana
    Aug 17, 2012 - 2:46PM

    This is very unfortunate that we don’t think beyond India…still playing blame game instead focus on problems


  • S
    Aug 17, 2012 - 3:18PM

    Focus on the solution than blame games


  • Ankur
    Aug 17, 2012 - 3:27PM

    People lile you would die blaming India for anything and everything happening in your land. The matter of the fact is we Indians are least bothered about what happens in Pak because we know you would die your own death because of the enemies within Pakistan and Afganistan and your foolish leaders. We do not need to interfere in there.
    So relax and dont think India is too much concerned and would use its agents to destroy your limited defence capabilities. We are far superior to you in defence and for that matter everything. Good Day.


  • Deepesh
    Aug 17, 2012 - 3:35PM

    I’m an Indian and I got this link from one of the Indian daily’s website. All I want to say is I’m a common man wanting to live peacefully without any fears of terrorist or wars…which I’m pretty much sure is what a common pakistani citizen also will be hoping for. I don’t know who the real enemy is….but this stupid fighting has to stop.


  • Indian
    Aug 17, 2012 - 5:34PM

    you think low……Just come out of your low level mentality….First solved ur iternal problem and then blaims other…And one more imp thing….these are your own issues created by ur nations….Think on it….Recommend

  • Aug 17, 2012 - 6:19PM


    I quote you and others like you when Mumbai happened: “Where is the proof?”

    Do you think this kind of attack happened without inside help, as you allege with Mumbai? First, fix your lapses then accuse others. :)


  • AK
    Aug 21, 2012 - 5:06PM

    Ignorant and prejudiced minds like you are Pakistans real enemy. You don’t even feel ashamed stating that the Frankenstein you created to bleed India, is somehow a friend of India now and working against you!!!


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