Whose war are we fighting?

Pakistan Army is fighting to retrieve Pakistani territory captured by the terrorists, so how is it someone else’s...

Asad Munir November 25, 2013
The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in senior intelligence postings in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata

A large number of Pakistanis, including senior political leaders, believe in the narrative that we are fighting a US war since 9/11 and the day we come out of this war we would have taken a step towards ending violence and terrorism in the country. Part of this narrative is correct to the extent that there has been unprecedented violence since 9/11 resulting in the deaths of about 50,000 Pakistanis and large-scale destruction of our infrastructure.

In the aftermath of 9/11, on September 28, 2001, the UN Security Council passed a resolution in which UN member states were directed that they shall “deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts” and “ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice”. Pakistan, as a member state, had to act on this resolution. The deployment of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was also authorised by the Security Council. Although terrorists attacked the US, the war on terror was sanctioned by the UN. Forces from 47 countries moved into Afghanistan as part of ISAF, including troops from some Islamic countries.

Pakistan did not send any troops and in spite of pressure, did not allow any foreign force to put its boots on ground. In 2002, a large number of foreign terrorists entered Waziristan with a plan to make an al Qaeda base in Fata. The Pakistan Army was deployed in South Waziristan against these terrorists as per the Security Council’s resolution. Pakistani Taliban, who were already operating in North Waziristan since 1998, joined hands with the foreign militants. Pakistan initially preferred the option of negotiations over the use of force and inked many peace deals. Terrorists took advantage of these deals and by 2009 they were completely or partially in control of 18 administrative units.

The Pakistan Army made half-hearted efforts, conducted a few raids but never executed any serious operation against the terrorists. If the army had gone all out against militants in 2003, it would have had to clear only two tribal agencies, but due to indecisiveness it did not, and was confronted with an uphill task of securing 18 areas in 2009. What has been achieved through the use of force? A popular question. The answer is that 17 administrative units have been cleared through operations and none through negotiations. The terrorists have bases now only in North Waziristan.

The Pakistan Army is fighting to retrieve Pakistani territory captured by the terrorists, so how is it someone else’s war?

The TTP has never stated that they are killing innocent Pakistanis because the US has occupied Afghanistan. All Taliban leaders are consistent in saying that they will continue fighting and killing Pakistanis even after the US exit. Those saying, “We must come out from the US war on terror” do not say how. Suppose Pakistan declares that from tomorrow it is not a US ally in the war on terror, how would it change the situation on ground? Would the TTP lay down its arms? Would al Qaeda and other foreign militants stop using our soil for terrorist activities? Would all Taliban groups announce that they will not capture any Pakistani territory and will not run a parallel administration in any part of the state? In all probability, none of these will happen.

Political leaders who are creating confusion about this war and misguiding the youth are doing no service to this country. They need be sure about the facts before they pass on these to their followers. They should get a briefing from the Pakistan Army on the subject unless they want to play politics on the issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2013.

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antanu | 9 years ago | Reply

it is ridiculous to read same story....same topic...repeatedly under different headings.Why ET has to waste its space for stale stories?

Rex Minor | 9 years ago | Reply

What a load of delusion for the former Brigadier General to think that Pakistan army is fighting to retrieve Pakistan territory........? Pakistan is not the owner of any territory, it is a state whereas the territory belongs to the people, the group of people and the Tribes. Let Pakistan army produce the evidence that thed territory bedlongs to them.

Rex Minor

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