News / Asia

Pakistan's Military Pays High Price in War on Terrorism

Ayaz Gul

The United States and its NATO allies have been fighting terrorism in Afghanistan since the terror attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, losing almost 3,000 fighters in the process. But there is another front in the battle against the Taliban and al Qaida -- along the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier. And despite tensions with Washington over how to conduct the battle, Pakistani officials say their military forces have suffered more casualties than the U.S. and its allies.



Wounded warriors


Captain Kalimullah Khan’s unit was preparing to set up a hilltop outpost in northwestern Pakistan, near the Afghan border, when he stepped on a landmine planted by the Taliban.

The Pakistani soldier knew he had lost a leg. His other leg was so badly damaged it was later amputated.

“Actually, we had to build a blocking position somewhere on the hilltops," he recalls. "While establishing that blocking position I met with this injury and after that I was fully conscious till the time I was given anesthesia in hospital.”

Khan has been at the Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in Rawalpindi since January.

Major General Waheed Akbar is the institute's director. He says the facility has its own psychological treatment centers, its own speech therapy units and even a workshop that makes artificial limbs.

“And we have treated thousands of patients, thousands of patients, who are disabled," he says. "Presently there is probably a shortage of specialists and technicians, but gradually we are training them and I think in another two, three years we will have plenty of staff.”

Life after war

Naik Azam suffered a gunshot wound in a Taliban ambush and is paralyzed from the waist down.

"God willing, one day these miscreants will retreat and ultimately our military and the government will emerge victorious in this war," he says.

Pakistani officials say the military has suffered more than 13,000 casualties in the U.S.-led fight against terrorism since 2001, including 3,000 dead.

Captain Bilal Sunawar is one of those who died. His sister Lubna Sunawar, says he volunteered for deployment even though his critically-ill mother was in the hospital.

"He was a brave and courageous officer and he proved that," she says, proudly.

Determination

Captain Sunawar's father, Chaudhry Muhammad Sunawar, is a former army officer. He says the Pakistani military's determination to defeat the Taliban is unshaken. He says the extremists are using Islam to terrorize the population and weaken the state.  

“They don’t know anything about Islam and they are indulging in such like butchery, killing innocent people by carrying out bomb blasts and otherwise fighting with the Pakistani army,” he says.

Even wounded, these soldiers are ready to continue to fight to rid their homeland of extremism and militancy.

“I am very spirited from the very first day. Now I am more spirited even. [If] I am able to walk there again; I will not hesitate to go there again,” he says.

As these wounded soldiers struggle to rebuild their shattered lives, military commanders hope better combat tactics being adopted now will help reduce the human cost in Pakistan’s fight against terrorism.

You May Like

Photogallery Ukraine: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid