News / Asia

Pakistan Denies Protecting Pro-Taliban Haqqani Network

A resident collects items from the rubble of a house after it was damaged by grenades from gunmen on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2014.
A resident collects items from the rubble of a house after it was damaged by grenades from gunmen on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan claims its “precision” air strikes against suspected militant bases in and around the volatile North Waziristan border region are “successfully” underway. It denies reports in the American media, however, that the country plans no action against the Haqqani network, a key ally of the Taliban in Afghanistan, which is entrenched in the tribal territory and known for staging attacks on Afghan and U.S. forces.

During the past week, Pakistani jets and helicopter gunships have repeatedly bombed hideouts of militants of the outlawed Terik-i-Taliban Pakistan, known as the TTP. The attacks focused on parts of tribal areas in the northwest, including the militant-dominated North Waziristan district.

Security officials say the action killed more than 100 Islamist militants, some of them belonging to the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan, and destroyed a number of their strongholds.

Peace effort

The government has in recent days tried to engage the militant network in peace talks to end years of deadly violence. Continued terrorist attacks on civilian and military targets, though, have provoked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to halt the peace process and to link its resumption to unconditional cessation of TTP hostilities.
 
Foreign policy and national security advisor Sartaj Aziz told reporters in Islamabad the “punitive” military action in the Waziristan region is part of a new “internal security policy” that authorizes military action in response to each terrorist attack the TTP carries out in the country.

Aziz said “the air action in North Waziristan has been effective and is successfully underway", adding that the government has kept the option of dialogue open.  But he said the TTP so far has not responded positively in terms of halting their terrorist activities. The Pakistani national security advisor said the prime minister will consult all political parties before deciding whether a full-scale military offensive is required to fully establish the authority of the government in the Waziristan border district.
 
“The present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has come to power with a clear mandate to rid the Pakistani society of extremism, intolerance and all forms of violence. This is vital for our survival as a nation [and] a prerequisite for our progress and prosperity,” explained Aziz.

Unfocused security policy

Critics allege the new security policy lacks clarity about how Pakistan plans to deal with militant groups like the Haqqani network, which is an ally of the Afghan Taliban and is using the Waziristan territory for staging attacks on US-led international forces in Afghanistan.
 
Some reports in the U.S. media also suggest that Pakistan is unlikely to target the Haqqani network even in the event of a major offensive because of its alleged links to the military. Aziz dismissed the criticism.
 
“I do not think that story is correct. Generally, we will take action against anybody who is indulging in extremist or terrorist activities there. So, there is no distinction I think,” he said.
 
The presence of the Haqqani network in Pakistan has been a major source of diplomatic tensions between Washington and Islamabad. It is widely believed the Pakistani spy agency, ISI, is protecting the group to prevent rival India from increasing its influence in Afghanistan after NATO’s combat forces withdraw from the country.  

Members of the Haqqanis so far have distanced themselves from the violent activities of the Pakistani Taliban, and say their main focus has been on the insurgency across the Afghan border.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
AppleAndroid