Mattis, Kayani to discuss North Waziristan operation

Published: August 17, 2012
The two generals would discuss how to eliminate their “common enemy” — Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud. PHOTO: AFP/REUTERS

The two generals would discuss how to eliminate their “common enemy” — Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud. PHOTO: AFP/REUTERS


Preparations for a military push against hard-line militants in North Waziristan became more explicit on Thursday as a top American general arrived in Islamabad to hold talks with his counterpart.

Gen James N Mattis, Commander of United States’ Central Command (Centcom), arrived in Islamabad late Thursday evening and was expected to meet army chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani. Senior officials told The Express Tribune that the two generals would discuss how to eliminate their “common enemy” — Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

In Waziristan, locals said, there was abnormal movement of military convoys in the area, spreading fears of another bloody showdown between the army and tribal militants affiliated with al Qaeda. Meanwhile, the top military leadership also cancelled Eidul Fitr holidays for troops deployed in the restive region and directed them to stay alert.

An operation in North Waziristan for eliminating the Haqqani network’s sanctuaries has been a longstanding demand of the US and is one of the major issues which have been weighing down the ties. However, Pakistani and American officials have agreed to eliminate Hakimullah and his hardline followers in the TTP before targeting the Haqqani network.

“The idea is not to go against Haqqani straight … we have suggested taking on Hakimullah and his group first and the Americans have endorsed the idea,” said a senior military official requesting anonymity.

On Monday, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told AP news agency that Pakistan had decided to launch a military operation against the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan but the campaign was not against the Haqqani network.

However, Hakimullah Mehsud and his followers will provide an equally daunting challenge for both the US mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was the mastermind behind a deadly suicide attack on a forward operating base of the US Central Intelligence Agency at Chapman in Khost province of Afghanistan on Dec 30, 2009.  As many as seven CIA operatives were killed in that attack.

TTP and its Punjabi affiliates were also behind some of the most audacious attacks against military installations in Pakistan, including a commando-style raid on the army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in 2009.

According to military officials and TTP associates, Mehsud has been in deep hiding in Shawal Valley — a rugged forest region sprawling across North and South Waziristan— and might have lost control over his group. Mehsud is labelled as target number one in drone strikes being carried out by the CIA in the tribal regions.

There have been reports over the past year that his deputy, Waliur Rehman Mehsud, was forthcoming in peace talks with the Pakistani military.

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

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Reader Comments (40)

  • MeGhauriYouPrithvi
    Aug 17, 2012 - 3:37AM

    Good, we should first deal with militants that pose threat to Pakistan and after that focus on non-hostile militants like Haqqani Network.


  • maestro
    Aug 17, 2012 - 3:43AM

    An attack on Minhas airbase and an attack on shias executed in cold blood by the taliban within hours during a sacred morning of Ramzan. And these taliban call themselves muslims?? They are butchers and satan worshippers who don’t have a clue about Islam. May Allah give these monsters their deserved punishment at the hands of Pak forces so they can all be sent to their righteous place – in HELL! Ameen! Pakistan Zindabad. Pak Army Zindabad!


  • entropy
    Aug 17, 2012 - 3:44AM

    Are the Americans really this stupid? Pakistan will attack the TTP, which is an enemy of Pakistan’s, but it will not go after the Haqqani group, which is an enemy of the USA.


  • Aug 17, 2012 - 3:52AM

    I have yet to see a single word about WOT from Mian Nawaz Sharif. He claims to be statesman so people of Pakistan are demanding to know how he will solve this issue of terrorism in Pakistan.

    Only statement we have heard is from Shahbaz Sharif issues a statement that his Punjab government has the same ideology as Taliban so they shouldn’t attack Punjab.

    This WOT has a big impact on the lives of ordinary Pakistanis and all those contending for power must put forward their ideas to resolve this issue. But so far Imran is the only courageous enough to issue statements on this war.

    PMLN must put forward its strategy to deal with this issue. No more dilly dallying and smoke & mirrors.

    But offcourse as always, Mian sb. has left the country as he always does when our nation fis faced by a calamity i.e. Mushraraf takeover, Raymond Davis, May 1st, and now this…

    A very pathetic and dismal performance by a so called “statesman”.


  • Akbar
    Aug 17, 2012 - 4:12AM

    what about ihsanullah ihsan ! who is the spokesman and takes pride in all the innocent killings. there is a big mess that Pakistan needs to tackle. Its high time we deal with them now, coz once the americans have left little help could be sought from indian friendly afghanistan in eradicating militancy.


  • Kaleem
    Aug 17, 2012 - 4:15AM

    US is again using us as rented army or puppets. A year without suicide attacks is coming to an end :( TTP is definitely our enemy, but this move will backfire. There is no peaceful solution to this crisis, but Pak. should have waited for US exit from Afghanistan, and then push these mililtants towards Afghanistan.


  • AnisAqeel
    Aug 17, 2012 - 4:21AM

    We must take swift actions with iron fist and without any sympathy as brutal terrorist can only be countered with brutal force and our military should not feel any shame or disgrace to invite and seek help from NATO or USA military personals even if they may be in a limited scale.
    Army personal should come up to the politicians, judiciary and police officials to coach the situation and give them feed-back as well.
    We must make amendments for terrorism, religious fanaticism and make changes to deal such cases beyond our judiciary that can’t punish any murderer or a terrorist.
    Our military must fight for and in the name of Pakistan and not in the name of Islam as Islam is not our country but a religion. Patriotism be taught for Pakistan and any mullah spreading hate and cashing in the name of religion and Jihad must face death penalty or very severe punishment.
    There is no time left now and we must learn from our past to re structure our military defenses.


  • Nadir
    Aug 17, 2012 - 4:43AM

    Look what corrupt leader like Zardari is making the Army do! The Haqqanis are so sweet and innocent looking!


  • azam
    Aug 17, 2012 - 4:52AM

    Thank God finally. we got talks. i fully support operation and destruction of these terrorists once and for all. enuf


  • Khalq e Khuda
    Aug 17, 2012 - 4:55AM

    General Kayani, how many more attacks on armed forces and murder of innocent civilians would it take to persuade you to start the operation?

    Just do it!


  • YP Toronto
    Aug 17, 2012 - 5:08AM

    Pakistan please get rid of these militants, sooner the better.


  • Anti america
    Aug 17, 2012 - 5:12AM

    Military!! Do something for the shia killings in Kohistan.. Why don’t they have an operation in there?


  • Karachities
    Aug 17, 2012 - 6:02AM

    Pakistani army is basically Rent An Army, always does wars against own people. Shame.


  • Lahoria
    Aug 17, 2012 - 6:12AM

    It seems that we haven’t learnt any lesson from history. Force is only going to be counter-productive because it, at is it stands at present, is indiscriminate and cannot differentiate between militants/terrorists and innocent civilians. The alternative is a long process requiring patience and perseverance and it is this: 1. Create a programme for economic uplift of FATA/Waziristan areas with jobs and employment for the local populace. 2 Launch an educational emergency 3. Withdrawl of American troops from Afhanistan and a halt to drone programmes.
    I firmly believe that the rise in militancy, although fuelled by American presence in Afghanistan, is a direct result of decades of deprivation and lack of justice. It has nothing to do with ideology. And so, the problem can only be resolved when this deprivation is addressed.


  • Aug 17, 2012 - 6:45AM

    Pakistan must eventually go after Haqqani after TTP. It is beyond hypocrisy to give sanctuary to known terrorist militants, who have links to Al Qaeda and other militant groups, and then decry your neighbours for doing the same. If it wants stability in Afghanistan and cares about Afghan lives, including local Pak lives like the Turi tribe, then they should take down the Haqqani network. But if they do not, then it will be the same deceitful double games madness and suicidal self-sabotage as before.


  • TightBanian
    Aug 17, 2012 - 7:04AM

    What are the chances of the Pakistani military sticking to their word of going after the Haqqanis after the Mehsuds have been targeted first? Nil. Zilch. Recommend

  • Amjad
    Aug 17, 2012 - 7:11AM

    Kill them, kill them militants ALL


  • Amir Wayn
    Aug 17, 2012 - 7:43AM

    spokes persons always captured at the end of story


  • Falcon
    Aug 17, 2012 - 7:50AM

    Whatever is done, please proceed with care. Pakistani citizens will be the first one to bear the costs of any failure and our history of these operations has not been very encouraging so far.


  • Rajendra Rana
    Aug 17, 2012 - 8:48AM

    Taliban are true Muslims and they act according to true Islam and Koran


  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Aug 17, 2012 - 8:53AM

    @ Karachities

    The gangs of TTP may be your ‘own’ people but not for those innocents who lost the lives of their loved ones by the hands of these murderous criminals.

    The People Pakistan does not own any murderer and criminal!


  • syed imran
    Aug 17, 2012 - 9:04AM

    May Allah Almighty help Pakistan Army in crushing these barbarians,who have brought bad name to Islam by killing innocent people,where ever they may be.
    These barbarians are only “Fasadees” and are worst of the mankind.


  • Praful Shah
    Aug 17, 2012 - 9:38AM


    Nothing will work. First you should get priority straight. Find first who is your enemy? These home grown anarchists or India? Based on that allocate resources. What is the use of military which uses 30% of national budget. Get political mess in order and tackle the issues.


  • wazir
    Aug 17, 2012 - 9:59AM

    Pakistan is between the rock and hard place. it definitely needs to cleans this area from theses terrorists. they are infiltrating into a foreign soil from Pakistani soil. Pakistan is responsible for all their actions .if Pakistan does not take action against these people NATO might. then Pakistan will be pushed into a war with extra large enemy. however if Pakistan takes action the Taliban will start hitting Pakistan. Now a day they are attacking military bases but there soon will come a time if the operation is launched that they begin to attack soft target like bomb blast in the market.unfortunately Pakistan have miserably failed to curtail this type of activivity.Taliban are all over Pakistan.they can attack any body anywhere if they kpk they are appearing again for chanda muhim. last week in mosque(very near to a military base ) they were collecting chanda and people were showering money on them how stupid.we need to talk to them and tell ‘ this war is destabiling pakistan and if Pakistan is weakened it is neither in Islam favour nor the people of this area.


  • Afghanistan
    Aug 17, 2012 - 10:12AM

    If pakistani taliban are terorists, then how afghan taliban can become freedom fighters in the eye of pakistani nation. Both of them are against US backed governments and both of them want sharia law. Both dont accept constitution of the countires and both are targeting army,police, civil servant and carry out suicide attacks. They both have afiliation with al-qaida and TTP accept Mula omar as their commandar(Amir). When Afghan Taliban attack our army or police, pakistanis become so happy but when they attack pakistani army, they become upset. This is called hypocrisy.We afghans have become so confused what to do. I think its time for relgious scholar of both countries to coduct a join meeting and decide or proclaim a joint FATWA and decide whether suicide attacks are alowed in islam or not-whether it is jehad in afghanistan and decadence(FASAD) in pakistan or is it Jehad in both countries.


  • dr ajmal
    Aug 17, 2012 - 10:37AM

    I seriously doubt any favourable outcome of this operation. Army is in khyber agency and has launched many such initiatives against mangal bagh but he is still the same and thousands of common people hv been killed ( not being reported though). Same is in mohmand and orakzai and they are re emerging in swat and dir as well. U can never win over in FATA and thats loud and clear. The only way is to isolate these morons by taking locals into confidence, investing in them and educating them. If you go for an operation, terrorists will disappear like in the past, you will kill more people and they will get more to recruite, a replay of previous operations, so generals need to think logical and not just submit to every US wish.


  • bilal
    Aug 17, 2012 - 10:43AM

    the militants need to be killed!
    no negotiations, i wonder when ordinary pakistanis and their leaders like Taliban Khan will realize this and more importantly talk about it!


  • Pan-economic?
    Aug 17, 2012 - 10:47AM

    I feel insecure as a citizen of Pakistan. Timing of this operation might be way off. Give peace a chance, build your economy, then do such stupid things that are going to cause COLLATERAL DAMAGE!


  • Aug 17, 2012 - 10:47AM

    The Americans have promised a lot in sixty-five years but have they delivered? Yes, but with strong under currents. With the exception of a few years, the remaining years have seen the Pakistanis allowing the Americans to push them around.

    This operation from both sides will not be a piece of cake, as the militants are getting smarter by the day. It is not that they are invincible. Afghanistan has been conquered before and kept in check by the conquering armies. In this case the TTP have to be sorted out once and for all and made to understand either shape up or ship out. The Americans have the military muscle but do they have the courage? The Pakistanis know that fighting is expensive and have the courage. Can the sandwich give results?

    @Thoughtfelon: Thoughtful and direct comments. WOT has not seen any criticism from the PMLN and the religious parties. In fact, it leads me to believe they are ‘hand in glove’ with each other. Ignorance, banality, and a myopic view of life, not extending beyond the length of their noses, is their doctrine for living each day. Salams


  • dr ajmal
    Aug 17, 2012 - 10:47AM

    The whole concept of turning school kids into militants must change as well. There shd be no talib at all, no one shd be encouraged and equipped to fight, whether pro or anti pakistan. Thats the main problem, a man who has been trained and has got a gun is no ones man, today he is pro you and tomarrow he can be anti you. Only and only law enforcing agencies should be entitled to have guns and both pakis and americans will have to stop creating proxies.o


    Aug 17, 2012 - 11:51AM

    one of my primary teacher told me 5 years ago never to mess with a tribal militant. They are patriotic,trained and four times more then our army. If you kill one of them his 20 brothers will come to kill you
    P.S usama bin laden had 54siblings and around 25 children.
    So , we should take careof them as our stretigic assets. And push the forieghn paid warriors back to afghanistn


  • OnePatrioticPakistani
    Aug 17, 2012 - 12:29PM

    Anyone thinking another ‘peace deal’ or more over a stop in drone strikes and not doing a military operation in North Waziristan will ‘fix’ the problem let alone bring peace is, i’m afraid, both blind and deaf.
    Haven’t we learned anything from the past 6 ‘peace deals’ with Taliban ? It only gives them more time to regroup and get even stronger than before. Taliban are not for peace, they have proved it themselves. Only way to get rid of them is for the nation to stand as one and support the army to do a complete operation.


  • Mehsud
    Aug 17, 2012 - 1:35PM

    TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud is a real fighter…it is better to make and end to the war on terror rather to go again for the hunt of Taliban fighters who are at good terms both with Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda network….Musharraf initiated operations against the Taliban in South Waziristan many years ago and the same policy was adopted by the successive government and military leadership but nothing changed with operations….killing own citizens is not genius policy because use of jet fighters against own citizens could deteriorate the situation further as decade has been passed but the war is escalating in Pakistan rather then ending.

    Taliban is reality in the bordering region, entire world and super powers accept this very difficult for Pakistan which is economically weak to eliminate Taliban…it is better to make peace deal with Taliban….rather to opt for fight with them….Taliban are volunteer and its difficult to control volunteer forces…


  • Anti-mullah
    Aug 17, 2012 - 2:21PM

    Pakistan should protect its motherland. This time around the operation should be decisive like swat op. covering north south waziristan. Also northern KP areas. No militant should escape justice. Borders be sealed with Afghanistan and NATO on other side to welcome fleeing terrorist. Drones should supply live feed to both armies. It should not be a limited war in some areas rather full blown multi centric strikes.

    I loved playing red alert when I was young :)


  • Anti-mullah
    Aug 17, 2012 - 2:34PM

    Your primary teacher and you both want the nation to live in fear. In other words give up to militants demands. I am pukhtoun from KP and I welcome op. in waziristans and chitral and kohistans.


  • YA
    Aug 17, 2012 - 2:37PM

    mehsud either you surrender or you die

    you killed 30,000 innocents and given bad name to islam.


  • Liberator
    Aug 17, 2012 - 3:08PM

    People on here are either gullible and naive or complicit in perpetuating a lie. Have you forgotten the links the US had with the ttp through their man Raymond Davis? In fact it was reported by this very paper


  • Liberator
    Aug 17, 2012 - 4:04PM

    People are either extremely gullible and naive or are complicit in spreading propaganda and lies. Was it not this paper who exposed the involvement of the US with the TTP through their man in the field Raymond Davies back in 2011?


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Aug 17, 2012 - 5:56PM


    Declare Pakistan a secular state and a good friend of Afghanistan .Leave the Kashmir issue and accept it as an
    Integral part of India .

    A drastic ”u” turn is required for the servival of the Pakistan . Recommend

  • Irfan Nuristani
    Aug 18, 2012 - 4:24PM

    Hope Nasheed Hakimullah Mehsud remains elusive forever. The young dynamic leader should stop only when Pakistan stops supporting the Haqqanis. Hakimullah is an inspiring leader and he kept up the pressure on Pakistan well. I wish him all the very best.


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