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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
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 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 Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
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.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
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