News / Asia

Pakistan Military Airstrikes Target Militants

Map of Pakistan shows the location of Mir Ali in the region of North Waziristan.
Map of Pakistan shows the location of Mir Ali in the region of North Waziristan.
Ayaz Gul
A renewed wave of deadly insurgent attacks in Pakistan has prompted the military to launch rare airstrikes against suspected militant hideouts in a remote tribal district that critics have long condemned as a center of local and international terrorists. 

Army officials say an overnight offensive in the mountainous North Waziristan region uprooted a number of terrorists from their hideouts.  The volatile region borders Afghanistan.

Warplanes and artillery are said to have fired on suspected strongholds of the Pakistani Taliban into the morning and the raids concentrated on Mir Ali, the second largest town in the tribal territory. 

Military sources say senior commanders of the Pakistani Taliban are among the 40 killed in the fighting.  Residents have reported civilian casualties, but independent confirmation is not possible because the war zone is considered extremely dangerous for reporters and aid workers to travel to.  

The fighting follows two major attacks this week against the Pakistani military that killed about three dozen people, mostly soldiers.

​Military sources claim the anti-militancy “surgical” operation was undertaken after intelligence agencies were able to trace links between recent deadly terrorist attacks  and militants hiding in North Waziristan.   

The military has previously conducted “limited' anti-insurgency activity in the region, which consists of treacherous mountains, but for the first time in many years it involved the Pakistani air force to bomb suspected targets. 

“The reason is that you cannot send your ground troops there and most of these hideouts were at higher positions and the rule of military engagement states that whichever side has got the height has the advantage, explained Maria Sultan, director general of South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, about the use of airpower in the Waziristan army action.

American officials allege that North Waziristan is also being used by the Haqqani network of Afghan militants for staging cross-border raids on NATO forces to fuel the Taliban insurgency there. 
 
The recent spike in extremist violence in Pakistan has increased pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to deal with Islamist insurgents.  But the Sharif government insists it wants to exhaust all peaceful means to solve the problem before ordering a full scale military operation.

Official efforts to open talks with the Pakistani Taliban have made no headway.  Critics like international law expert Ahmer Bilal Sofi encourage the government to come up with a clear policy on how it wants to counter-militancy.

“People of Pakistan are expecting action people of Pakistan are expecting some sort of decisive move forward, either through a dialogue resolve this issue or go to the alternative means," Sofi said. " I mean the country, I am sure, will back them on this.”

Most critics are skeptical about the success of any peace talks between the government and the Pakistani Taliban because the militant outfit condemns the nation’s political system as un-Islamic and demands withdrawal of troops from all parts of the tribal territory on the Afghan border before it announces a ceasefire.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More