News / Asia

Pakistan Launches Ground Offensive in North Waziristan

FILE - A soldier gestures as he stands beside his comrades in a vehicle headed toward North Waziristan, from Bannu, June 19, 2014.
FILE - A soldier gestures as he stands beside his comrades in a vehicle headed toward North Waziristan, from Bannu, June 19, 2014.

Related Articles

Ayaz Gul

Pakistan's military says it has begun a ground offensive against terrorist hideouts in North Waziristan, following two weeks of aerial bombing and evacuation of civilians from the region. The northwestern tribal territory bordering Afghanistan has long been a source of domestic and international terrorist activities.

After evacuation of “all civilian population,” the army says its troops and commandos have started a “house-to-house search” in and around Miranshah, the administrative center of North Waziristan.
 
The army says the initial ground offensive has killed 15 “terrorists” and found tunnels and bomb-making factories.
 
Islamabad began the counterterrorism operation on June 15 by bombing suspected targets from the air.  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the action after peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban collapsed because of repeated terrorist attacks.  
 
Former Pakistan Army spokesman, retired general Athar Abbas, explains the challenges of the military action in North Waziristan.
 
“In North Waziristan, it is treacherous, high mountains, caves, and small pockets of urban centers.  So, it will be more difficult as compared to other areas.  But then, the army has operated in this area before also and on-and-off they have been carrying out targeted operations, small raids and ambushes et cetera.  But now the level or scale of operation is quite large,” says Abbas.
 
North Waziristan is one of seven tribal districts along Pakistan’s northwestern border with Afghanistan.  While the military has conducted repeated counter-militancy operations in the other areas, it had not undertaken a full-scale offensive until now, despite pressure from the United States and other Western allies.
 
Officials do not rule out the possibility of militant attacks elsewhere in Pakistan in reaction to the army operation.  Abbas says the operation is significant in terms of restricting the ability of militants to launch major anti-state attacks.
 
“One does not expect that all of them will surrender or get killed.  Many of them always will have the opportunity to escape because they belong to the area and they know the routes in, routes out.  But the fact is that if you deny a certain group or a collective body their own stronghold, their own area, where they draw the main strength from, then I think half of the battle is won,” says Abbas.
 
The military says it has killed nearly 400 militants since the offensive began two weeks ago and has confirmed the deaths of 17 soldiers.  

The extent of civilian casualties is not known, and it is not possible to verify official accounts of the fighting because the Waziristan region has been completely sealed.

The fighting has forced nearly half-a-million civilians, mostly women and children to flee the Waziristan agency, prompting a major humanitarian crisis for Pakistani authorities.

The internally displaced population has ended up in areas around the northwestern town of Bannu where authorities and aid groups are scaling up efforts to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance to victim families.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid