Drone war: ‘Burraq’ turned the tide in Tirah battle, say officials

Published: March 26, 2015
This television screen grab shows UCAV Burraq launching the laser-guided missile Burq.

This television screen grab shows UCAV Burraq launching the laser-guided missile Burq.


The strategic Tirah Valley has been the scene of fierce fighting between the Pakistani military and a potpourri of militants for nearly two weeks.  The military claims to have achieved ‘significant successes’ in the battle for Tirah. And security officials say Pakistan’s indigenously-developed armed drone ‘Burraq’ has turned the tide against the militants in this offensive.  

The remotely-piloted aircraft ‘Burraq’ and laser-guided missile ‘Burq’ were tested on March 14, taking Pakistan a step closer to acquiring the technology it has long demanded from the United States. However, senior security officials told Express News that much before ‘Burraq’ was publicly showcased it had been tested in live combat against militants in the Tirah Valley.

The officials would not say how many targets have been taken out with the help of Burraq, but they claimed that senior militant commanders, including those from Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), were killed in Pakistani drone strikes.

According to dronewars.net, a website that provides information and comment on use of drones, 30 other countries have large military drones. Apart from its pure military usage, Burraq also has valuable reconnaissance importance and Tirah has been a testing ground for it.

“They have built bunkers in the mountains covered by a wall which initially made it difficult for us to target,” one security official said. “However, their movements were tracked and their hideouts destroyed with the help of laser-guided missiles,” he added.

On March 18, a gathering of militants was targeted in a border village in Tirah which led some private TV channels to report that TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah was also among those killed in the strike. Officially, Fazlullah’s death was not confirmed, while the TTP denied the media report as propaganda.

Giving details of the strike, another security official said several militants had gathered in the village close to the Nizyan district of eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. “They were celebrating [something] and had brought along three cows to slaughter,” another security official told Express News.

After a fierce battle that lasted well over a week, almost 109 militants were killed. But the victory in sight has not come easy as the ridge connecting Pakistan and Afghanistan has been the scene of bloody fighting. Though the militants have been mostly dislodged from the ridge, the LeI and TTP are getting support from militant groups from other parts of the tribal belt as well as from Afghanistan.

The officials said the fleeing militants had strapped bombs to the abandoned bodies of their comrades and security personnel killed in the fighting. Since these were ‘pressure bombs’, a special team from the Corps of Engineers had to be called in to defuse them.

While the North Waziristan operation was thought to be the mother of all battles, the Tirah operation has turned out to be more difficult than the military had anticipated. Three militant factions – LeI, TTP and TTP Jamaatul Ahrar – have ganged up to put up a united front. On the first day of combat there were over 200 fighters, but their numbers have multiplied since then. Analysts say peace in the region now hinges on the outcome of the Tirah battle.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • wb
    Mar 26, 2015 - 11:50AM

    “ingenuously developed” – LOLROFRecommend

  • Troll Hunter
    Mar 26, 2015 - 12:05PM

    @ wb: Typical Indian Troll. May be you need to be educated on what indigenous means. You do not have to reinvent the wheel in order to manufacture it. The technology has been there and Pakistan is producing the drones inside the country, not importing it from France, Russia, USA or Israel. If India has missiles, nukes, submarines being built inside India, this doesn’t mean they invented it. And grow up ! Recommend

  • John
    Mar 26, 2015 - 12:29PM

    @Troll Hunter:
    Mate,don’t insult your own intelligence by engaging these useless Indian trolls,you can find them aplenty here.Recommend

  • Virkaul
    Mar 26, 2015 - 12:40PM

    Wasn’t it developed only a week ago? Recommend

  • Bob
    Mar 26, 2015 - 12:47PM

    @Troll Hunter ….. Well Said!Recommend

  • Abdullah Razi Ahmad
    Mar 26, 2015 - 1:51PM

    Okay, my comment is not related to the story. It is related to the website. I keep seeing these sexually explicit sponsered links on your website, ET. I would like you to use another ad service which does not force people ro look at this content. I am under 15 and I habitually read your articles. But if these ads keep popping up, I’m sorry I’ll have to switch to another source to keep up with the current affairs! So, please correct it, as I can positively say there is a significant amount of underage readers on this forum.Recommend

  • Adam Zarwan
    Mar 26, 2015 - 2:15PM

    Technological victories, victories of killer tech, are not victories for one side or the other. They are defeats for humanity and human values.Recommend

  • Mughees
    Mar 26, 2015 - 2:22PM

    @wb you Indians cant stand us so much hate, accept and praise us mate ( No Offence ). @Troll Hunter well said Sir. Recommend

  • jay
    Mar 26, 2015 - 2:25PM

    Pakistan can built water car, drones are nothing compared to water car. Recommend

  • Nabeel
    Mar 26, 2015 - 2:44PM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad:

    Have to agree with you here. I have been a regular reader for tribune for the past couple of years. But now because of inappropriate adverts, it becomes a bit nuisance reading news in office.
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  • Basit
    Mar 26, 2015 - 2:45PM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad:
    Human body is nothing to be ashamed off.Recommend

  • Abdul hameed
    Mar 26, 2015 - 2:50PM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad
    I believe no one intents vulgar advertisement, brimming with liberalism E.T might be. However I appreciate your forgo and word on the matter since I too share some concern for the juveniles lurking around these corners. I suggest you use an appropriate browser extension (bit.ly/ITk437) to rid of such content.Recommend

  • JD
    Mar 26, 2015 - 3:14PM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad:
    The ads shown here are customized based on predictions about your interests generated from your visits over time and across different Web sites. These ads are also called interest based advertisement.
    Normally there is an option to opt-out that particular ad. But as I told you advertisement is based on ones internet history, the most effective approach to avoid to see any unappropriate ads is to change ones online behaviour :)Recommend

  • Jalal
    Mar 26, 2015 - 4:33PM

    Rubbish. F-16 had this capability and more for decades. Recommend

  • Burki
    Mar 26, 2015 - 5:28PM

    @Jalal: you obviously don’t know the difference b/w manned and unmanned flying vehicles.Recommend

  • khan
    Mar 26, 2015 - 5:36PM

    I agree with the vulgar ads issue, as pointed by some of the commentators.

    I think, it’s not the ET that advertise those ads. I believe it’s the servers or browser’s that allow ad placement. Just like Google and Apple we browsers do.

    ET, for sake of money savings, may have allowed the service provider to use the remaining browser space for ad placement.Recommend

  • ilyas
    Mar 26, 2015 - 5:41PM

    Fully agree with Abdullah and others regarding ethical sloppiness. It is extremely disturbing to find girls in bikinis amid serious articles. Please spare this nation and don’t show people see what they don’t want to see. Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Mar 26, 2015 - 5:53PM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad:
    cc JD

    See JD comments! I do not see unwanted adverts, use the clearance filter to remove your previous wild surfing! Besides if you are 15 years old or less, you should be reading micky mouse cartoons and not Express Tribue.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • awais ahmad
    Mar 26, 2015 - 7:48PM

    Amazing work.

    Army always make sure, to test it in the battlefield before revealing it to the public

    Definitely a proud moment for me.Recommend

  • hamza khan
    Mar 26, 2015 - 8:18PM


    yeah, and your hindu gods were driving flying cars according to narendra modi 1000 years ago. Recommend

  • Ravian
    Mar 26, 2015 - 8:42PM

    For those of you who don’t know, Pakistan started producing drones quite a few decades back. These drones were purely for research (e.g weather) purposes and were produced under civilian supervision in Karachi.Recommend

  • Umair
    Mar 26, 2015 - 10:18PM

    It was announced/shown to public a week ago, it has been operational.Recommend

  • GS@Y
    Mar 27, 2015 - 1:00AM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad: You are so proper for a 15 year old!Recommend

  • Ibs
    Mar 27, 2015 - 2:59AM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad. Bro everyone does not see the same ad. These are “Ad choices”. If you are seeing them that means you have been searching for similar stuff yourself which is why these ads are targeting you. A 15 year old should not be searching for those things anyway.Recommend

  • AA
    Mar 27, 2015 - 4:11AM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad:
    Brother clean your “internet cache” the adds that run on ET web page are target oriented, they pick up info from your disk to run targeted adds. The underage probably will not get those adds if his dad was not wondering porno graphic sites on the same computer which leave site cookies to pick up by others. May be in your case that happened inadvertently. Cleaning the “temporary interment files” will change the adds.Recommend

  • Ace
    Mar 27, 2015 - 4:56AM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad:
    If you are using Chrome or Firefox, you can add adblock plus and block almost all the ads! just search Adblock Plus on chrome extensions or firefox add ons in the Options :) I didnt even know they have ad pop ups here.Recommend

  • Fawad
    Mar 27, 2015 - 5:21AM

    @Abdullah Razi Ahmad: listen…. The Ads you see on the any website you visit is based on YOUR HISTORY or SITES YOU VISITED RECENTLY. These ad track your history (computers history) then place ad. Don’t visit those sites, clean up your history, install chrome and opt for safe browsing or install on chrome extension –AD blocker– you will be good.Recommend

  • Azeez
    Mar 27, 2015 - 11:07AM

    @Troll Hunter: first you make a bicycle.Recommend

  • Mar 27, 2015 - 1:05PM

    While we are at the topic of layout.. ET. Do a favour. The current layout of the front page was recently altered and now contains pictures alongside text for ‘Featured’, ‘Trending’ and ‘Recent Blogs’ sections. This has rendered the page extremely cluttered and is hard on the eyes. Simple text links were much better and presented a clean look.Recommend

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