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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid