News / Asia

Pakistan Resists Military Action in 'Epicenter of Terrorism'

A Pakistan army soldier stands alert, as he monitors the Afghan-Pakistan border at Kundigar post, some 80 kilometers southwest of Miran Shah, capital of Pakistani tribal belt of North Waziristan (FILE).
A Pakistan army soldier stands alert, as he monitors the Afghan-Pakistan border at Kundigar post, some 80 kilometers southwest of Miran Shah, capital of Pakistani tribal belt of North Waziristan (FILE).

North Waziristan is inside Pakistan, but outside the law. Located along the border with Afghanistan, North Waziristan has become a crossroads for terrorism.

It is a mixed cauldron of armed jihadi organizations including the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaida and one of the deadliest insurgent groups, the network of Jalaluddin Haqqani.

The United States wants Pakistan's army to attack these insurgents in the North Waziristan region who are staging deadly assaults on American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.  The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, calls North Waziristan the "epicenter of terrorism."   

Pakistani officials say they will not be rushed into military action there.    

Mohammad Kamran Khan represents North Waziristan in the Pakistani Parliament.  

"The situation in North Waziristan is not good," Khan says. "Because everyday there are gun attacks, and there is target killing, kidnapping."

Khan estimates there are 5,000 to 6,000 foreign militants currently in North Waziristan.  

Local tribal leaders say Arabs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechens and fighters called "white jihadis" - meaning European militants - have come to North Waziristan to fight American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has indicated it will consider mounting a military offensive in North Waziristan, but only when other tribal areas are stabilized, which military officials say could take another six months. Pakistani Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik is the top military commander in the region.

"What we have to do is we have to stabilize the whole area.  I have a very large area in my command.  So I must stabilize all the other areas, and then maybe look at North Waziristan," Malik says.

South Asian analysts say when it comes to militants in North Waziristan, Pakistan and the United States have potentially conflicting interests.

They point out Haqqani has close ties to Pakistan's intelligence and security establishment and is viewed as a potential ally who can help Islamabad regain control of territory on its side of the border in a post-NATO Afghanistan.

Haqqani and his network of fighters are not currently a threat to Pakistan says Kamran Bokhari, who is from Pakistan and is director of South Asia analysis at Stratfor, a private U.S.-based global intelligence company.

"Despite having the relationship with the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida, he is not part of their joint efforts to wage war in Pakistan, Bokhari says. "His view is that the war, the real war is in Afghanistan and we should limit ourselves there."

Tucked in the valleys of North Waziristan, families survive in mud houses behind 10-foot walls, cooking over open fires and sleeping under the sky.  Most are poor and uneducated.     

North Waziristan's representative in the Pakistani Parliament, Mohammad Kamran Khan, says residents there are widely sympathetic to the Taliban, who are waging the insurgency to oust Western soldiers from Afghanistan. He believes if Pakistan and the international community want more support they should provide essential services to the people who live there.

"There is no education, no health facilities, no road infrastructure, no electricity, no drinking water," Khan points out. "So they should provide these things so that common people should say that we are Pakistanis."

North Waziristan's population is mainly Pashtun, the same ethnic group in Afghanistan that forms the backbone of the Taliban.

Rugged mountain paths lead across the unguarded border into Afghan provinces that are Taliban strongholds.

The United States has greatly increased drone attacks in North Waziristan in an effort to deny the militants a safe haven. But both Washington and Islamabad know that such strikes alone are not likely to stop the militant activity in what is becoming known as the epicenter of terrorism.   

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
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 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.

AppleAndroid