Operation Zarb-e-Azb: TTP sets up new sanctuaries in Afghanistan

Published: October 27, 2014
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Islamabad believes cooperation from Kabul would be crucial for eradicating the ‘terror infrastructure’ from North Waziristan..PHOTO: AFP

Islamabad believes cooperation from Kabul would be crucial for eradicating the ‘terror infrastructure’ from North Waziristan..PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD': 

Pakistani officials claim to have found evidence of ‘new sanctuaries’ set up by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates in the Afghan territory near the border with North Waziristan Agency, where a massive military operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb, has been ongoing since mid-June.

A senior security official told The Express Tribune that the new sanctuaries have been established to create difficulties for Pakistan’s military and disrupt Operation Zarb-e-Azb in the troubled agency. “It is a worrying development that the TTP is regrouping close to the border right under the nose of the Afghan security forces,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.

When asked, the official did not rule out the possibility of ‘tacit support’ from Afghan security agencies for the new Taliban sanctuaries. Despite repeated requests, Afghan authorities have done little to dislodge militants from their side of the Durand Line, he added. ‘The lack of action from Afghan authorities has encouraged the terrorists to carve out new sanctuaries.”

Pakistan has long urged Afghanistan to eliminate what it calls ‘safe havens’ of the TTP in northeastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. Fugitive TTP chief Mullah Fazllullah is also believed to be hiding in those areas. Islamabad has sought Fazllulah’s extradition from Afghanistan, but Kabul is not forthcoming to such a demand.

The Afghan inaction stems from a trust-deficit with Pakistan. While Pakistan voiced concern over Afghanistan’s reluctance to cooperate against the TTP, Kabul continues to believe that the country’s security establishment is still supporting Afghan insurgents. Recently, an acting Afghan interior minister reiterated these allegations against Pakistan while speaking at a conference in New Delhi.

However, with the formation of the new unity government led by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Islamabad is hoping for a new beginning.

“I think we should give the new Afghan government a benefit of doubt. Whatever has happened at the border is due to the policies of Karzai administration,” commented another government official. He said Pakistan was looking forward to the new Afghan leadership for fresh start.

The official pointed out that Pakistan has already conveyed to the Afghan administration that it would not allow its territory to be used against any other country. “We expect the same from Kabul now,” he added.

Islamabad believes cooperation from Kabul would be crucial for eradicating the ‘terror infrastructure’ from North Waziristan.

The military on Sunday also claimed that they have killed 18 suspected terrorists during ‘precise’ aerial strikes in parts of Khyber Agency where Operation Khyber-I has been ongoing for the past few days. “A huge cache of arms and ammunition was also destroyed,” said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police chief is said to have requested the federal government for manpower to deal with security threats emanating from Operation Khyber-I.

According to documents available with Express News, intelligence agencies have warned in a report that Khyber Agency has become a safe haven for terrorists who have fled Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan. They plan to use Khyber Agency as a springboard for launching attacks in Peshawar and elsewhere in the province.

The IG police highlighted the pressing need for deployment of 4,000 Frontier Constabulary personnel in the areas lying between Peshawar and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Provincial authorities, according to sources, have warned that if these areas were not secured, the terrorists might carry out a major attack in Peshawar.

Sources said that the authorities have also shared the reports of intelligence agencies with the federal interior ministry. They revealed that law enforcers have recently foiled three major terror plots and arrested suspected terrorists.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Oct 27, 2014 - 4:03AM

    Its not Aristotle’s theorem, just bomb those sanctuaries.

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  • Oct 27, 2014 - 5:03AM

    still there is trust deficit between the neighbors.

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  • unbelievable
    Oct 27, 2014 - 6:29AM

    Shoes on the other foot – before you complain look in the mirror and ask how the Afghan’s viewed 12 years of open support for the Haqqani.

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  • Usman
    Oct 27, 2014 - 7:45AM

    What is this disjointed way for reporting ‘security official claims’, Pakistani officials claim’ etc. etc. It’s ‘Pakistan claims’, not ‘security official claims’. Stop portraying the country as a disjointed unit.

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  • Professor
    Oct 27, 2014 - 8:53AM

    I get a feeling of deja-vu. I think a similar situation has happened before – only the players have switched sides. The world’s greatest agency was not so great after all.

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  • syed Yousaf
    Oct 27, 2014 - 9:25AM

    Pakistan Air Force should be allowed to bomb these sanctuaries after warning the Afghan Government, as Americans would do in our tribal areas.

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  • Ghaleem
    Oct 27, 2014 - 9:46AM

    The Durand Line drawn by British was supposed to be a border. Past 40 years of wars in Afghanistan has made it irrelevant. Now there is a Taliban country between Pakistan & Afghanistan. Good for both. No more bombs for Afghanistan, we already have consumed our quota to no effect. My humble suggestion to both Afghanistan & Pakistan is to recognize the emirate of Taliban country & live in peace.

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  • Oct 27, 2014 - 10:09AM

    The Afghans have a common heritage with the KP and a contiguous border in Pakistan.
    Ever since, Ranjit Singh’s army under General Hari Singh Nalwa defeated the Afghans (Azim Khan and Dost Mohammad Khan) at the Battle of Attock in 1813, the Afghans have been subservient to the Indians.
    It will be helpful and better for Pakistan’s health if we start drawing lines of our independence and start living in the present. Salams

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  • Prognosticator
    Oct 27, 2014 - 11:37AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: Guess what will happen next. Like the Americans are already bombing sanctuaries within Pakistan using drones, India would do the same, so would Iran and so would Afghanistan. The Chinese may ask you to bomb sanctuaries that they know of.
    In the end, Pakistan will look like Swiss cheese.

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  • goldconsumer
    Oct 27, 2014 - 2:08PM

    @Prognosticator:
    Who said we are gona ask our school children to sign the bombs we send them? A group, that already has so many sub divisions within will easily crack by some intelligent working fro the army. Just wait and see neighbour! You will be surprized..

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  • Patriot
    Oct 27, 2014 - 3:05PM

    I agree with Ch Allah Daad. Pakistan Army should carpet bomb these sanctuaries. TTP needs to be obliterated beyond repair.

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  • Irtaza M. Awan
    Oct 27, 2014 - 3:27PM

    Our new Block 52 F-16s equipped with JDAM smart bombs, would take care of this problem. And while we are at it drop one on Karzai’s retirement home as well!

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  • Khalid
    Oct 27, 2014 - 4:19PM

    and you guys believe Pakistan army and the govt. TTP is housed near GHQ and even if this news is true, why should Afghans take action when you haven’t taken any in the last 35 years. Your destroyed Afghanistan and enriched your self with $$$$ and now when the gun is pointed at you, you are crying.

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  • Oct 27, 2014 - 8:04PM

    It is easy to get into a blame game and forget that we are fighting the same terrorists and suffering at the hands of the same terrorists. The terrorists have been taking advantage of the long and rugged mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to orchestrate their terrorist activities in both countries. The common threat of terrorism that lies on both sides of the border requires shared coordination and assistance between the regional partners. It was recently reported that the Afghan President has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Pakistan to ‘share his vision’ for ties between the two neighbors. Afghan President Ghani was also quoted saying: “A new chapter has been opened in relations between the two countries today and I’m confident this will pave the way for close cooperation.” The fact of the matter is that the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan have collectively felt the impact of terrorism in the last decade, and continue to do so. Our nations have come a long way in our shared fight against terrorism, and it only makes sense for us to iron out any differences and remain united in regards to our shared peace objectives in the region.

    Ali khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM

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  • ajeet
    Oct 28, 2014 - 12:11AM

    India will not keep quiet if Pakistan attacks Afghanistan.

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  • Last Word
    Oct 28, 2014 - 9:28AM

    @the Skunk:
    No sir, Afghans are too proud of their heritage to become subservient to anyone including India. The fact of the matter is that India’s relations with Afghanistan right from the Nehru era has been of good friends and not masters which continues till date. On the other hand, Pakistan has always treated Afghanistan as a non-entity and enforced Taliban rule on them whom they detest very much. Moreover, Pakistan continuous support to Afghan Taliban which had resulted in death and destruction in Afghanistan has created irreconcilable differences between the two countries. Pakistan should not expect any help from its neighbour till it takes action against Taliban as promised to Afghanistan by it.

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  • goldconsumer
    Oct 28, 2014 - 9:58AM

    @ajeet:
    Hahahhahha..
    Was India sleeping for the whole decade from 1990 to 2001??

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  • Tyggar
    Oct 29, 2014 - 12:01AM

    @Irtaza M. Awan:
    Our new Block 52 F-16s equipped with JDAM smart bombs, would take care of this problem.

    You f16s cannot fly outside your airspace without “express permission from the US”. Do you think the US will give you permission?

    Source: http://fas.org/blogs/security/2006/07/lawmakersscoldadministration/

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