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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid