Waziristan operation: Indian aggression affecting anti-terror fight, says Gen Raheel

Published: November 20, 2014
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General Raheel Sharif receives Guard of Honour at the Pentagon. PHOTO: APP

General Raheel Sharif receives Guard of Honour at the Pentagon. PHOTO: APP

Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has said that unabated ceasefire violations by Indian troops along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary were affecting Pakistan Army’s operations against extremists holed up in the areas near the border with Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military had mounted a massive operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb, against Taliban militants and their foreign cohorts in the North Waziristan tribal region in mid-June. Four months later, another offensive was launched in a remote valley of Khyber Agency as an extension of Zarb-e-Azb.

“Indian aggression on the border and hawkish statements by Indian politicians are affecting our operation [against terrorists],” an official in Washington quoted Gen Raheel as telling US officials. The official spoke to BBC Urdu on condition of anonymity.

Gen Raheel said that Pakistan has deployed 140,000 troops on its western border with Afghanistan and expected calm on the eastern border with India – but that didn’t happen. According to BBC Urdu, the reaction of American officials was not immediately known. Defence observers, however, believe Washington doesn’t want to interfere in the bilateral matters between Pakistan and India.

Pakistani and Indian border forces have repeatedly traded fire along the LoC and Working Boundary since October 2. Over a dozen Pakistani civilians have been killed in what Islamabad says ‘unprovoked firing’ by Indian forces. Pakistan has also lodged protests with New Delhi at the diplomatic level over these ceasefire violations which have escalated tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Gen Raheel, who is on a seven-day tour of the United States, is also scheduled to meet US Congressmen on Wednesday where he is expected to share details of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Long-term Strategic Partnership between Pakistan and the United States past 2014 would also be discussed in the meeting. US-led foreign forces are scheduled to pull out of Afghanistan by December 2014.

BBC Urdu quoted defence observers as saying that Gen Raheel could cite Operation Zarb-e-Azb as the basis for continued US military assistance to Pakistan.

According to the Pakistani military’s statistics, more than 1,200 militants have been killed and 200-plus of their hideouts have been destroyed in the five-month campaign in North Waziristan. The military also claims to have eliminated East Turkistan Movement and Haqqani Network from the region. The Haqqani Network, an Afghan Taliban faction, has been blamed by US officials for some of the deadliest attacks on foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif was also conferred with US Legion of Merit Medal for “brave leadership, sagacity, vision, efforts for peace and stability in the region”.  According to the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations, Gen Raheel and his delegation were greeted with a full honour guard at the US Defence Headquarters.

He met Chairman Joint Chief Staff Gen Martin Dempsey, Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert O Works and Commander of the Marine Corps Gen Joseph F Dunford.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Rahul
    Nov 20, 2014 - 3:07AM

    US Christine Fair has noted that operation Zarb-e-Azb is just show to get the aid dollars flowing.

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  • Jat
    Nov 20, 2014 - 11:57AM

    Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif was also conferred with US Legion of Merit Medal for “brave leadership, sagacity, vision, efforts for peace and stability in the region”

    Ugh !

    Has the US also appointed Gen Raheel as the ‘subedar’ of the Pakistan province ?

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  • Nov 20, 2014 - 12:39PM

    It’s true because India have been using Afghan territory for its proxy war with Pakistan under the shelter of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President who had a soft corner for India, his study place. The Pakistani General has said something that he should have pronounced vociferously on the world forum.Recommend

  • Hari Om
    Nov 20, 2014 - 1:48PM

    Operation Zarb-e-Azb conducted by Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s Punjabi dominated Military is restricted to North Waziristan Agency (NWA). NWA covers an area of just 11,585 sq. km against the Islamic Republic’s land area of around 700,000 sq. km.
    How come much touted Punjabi dominated military of Pakistan who otherwise take every opportunity to tout their military prowess and fighting spirit cannot stretch itself this very little and simultaneously protect both border with India and carry out Operation Zarb-e-Azb?

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  • Pity
    Nov 20, 2014 - 2:50PM

    @Hari Om:

    In case you are not aware, Pakistan Army is safeguarding Pakistan’s western borders, eastern borders, and the LoC and is simultaneously carrying out an operation in North Waziristan. It is because of Pakistan Army’s military prowess that Indian troops have received a befitting reply every time they have violated the Working Boundary and the LoC. However, it is a shame that the Indian troops are not able to safeguard their borders neither are they capable of carrying out rescue operation during floods in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

    I hope ET you can publish my comment.

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  • Sunil
    Nov 20, 2014 - 5:05PM

    Do you think that the politicians in the US really care? The President does not and the military has no political clout. He can say what he likes.

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  • S K Chadha
    Nov 20, 2014 - 9:04PM

    The GOP and PAF throughout the firing on LOC/ Border maintained that its action on Eastern Border is not at all affecting its operations on Western Borders …. !!

    Now why this somersault ……. ???

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