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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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