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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora