News / Asia

    Pakistan: Waziristan Strikes Are Not Start of Offensive

    Security officials cordon off the site of a Taliban suicide blast that killed 10 people in a crowded market near the Pakistani army headquarters in the tribal region of North Waziristan in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Jan. 20, 2014.
    Security officials cordon off the site of a Taliban suicide blast that killed 10 people in a crowded market near the Pakistani army headquarters in the tribal region of North Waziristan in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Jan. 20, 2014.
    Ayaz Gul
    Pakistan's military has released new details about airstrikes it launched Monday in North Waziristan amid fresh militant violence that has targeted the national anti-polio campaign.

    Pakistani warplanes are reported to have continued bombing suspected militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal district, a hub for local and foreign militants linked to al-Qaida.

    Military sources on Wednesday said that 33 Uzbekistan nationals and three Germans are among the militants killed in the airstrikes. They say that several terrorist commanders are among the dead.

    The fighting reportedly has caused civilian casualties and forced residents to flee. Independent accounts are difficult to obtain from Waziristan, though, because of a lack of access and weak communication links with the rest of the country.

    Army sources say the offensive is meant to punish those behind recent suicide bombings and other deadly terrorist attacks that mostly killed Pakistani troops.

    The United States and Pakistani critics have long demanded an offensive in North Waziristan because they believe it is a source of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan.

    However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government and the military dismiss reports that a full-scale offensive is underway. They describe the air strikes as a “surgical” operation.

    Khan opposes military action

    Imran Khan, a key opposition politician who opposes the use of military force to fight militancy, told VOA the Waziristan action could intensify terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

    “It looks like an operation is starting. I have no idea what is happening, we don’t know what the facts are," said Khan. "Agreed that the situation is difficult to hold peace talks with the other side, also because of the bomb blasts, but at least we should all be taken into confidence.”

    Sharif has long insisted he wants to use negotiations to end the militancy plaguing Pakistan, saying that army operations alone cannot solve the problem permanently.

    Almost all political parties support government efforts to hold peace negotiations with the Pakistani Taliban, but deadly terrorist incidents in recent days apparently have increased pressure to undertake decisive action against the militants.

    In addition, attacks on polio vaccination teams and their guards continue in Pakistan, one of only three countries where the crippling disease is endemic.

    Anti-polio program

    On Wednesday, officials say a remote-controlled bomb struck a group of policemen protecting an anti-polio team in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The explosion killed six police personnel and a child.

    Khan, whose Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party governs the province, condemned the violence. He said the attacks will not deter the anti-polio program.

    "On the 26th [of January], we are doing a massive anti-polio campaign in [Khyber] Pakhtunkhwa," said Khan. "I am heading it and you know this is a serious issue for Pakistanis. And it is very sad that since CIA used a health worker, we have had 32 people killed, 22 polio workers and 10 policemen guarding them. It has really impacted this whole anti-polio campaign in Pakistan.”

    Militants in Pakistan oppose the immunization campaign, saying it is being used to gather intelligence on their locations while some Islamist groups say the vaccine is meant to sterilize Muslims.

    A Pakistani doctor, Shakeel Afridi, ran a fake vaccination program at the behest of the U.S. government that helped it locate and kill the terror mastermind, Osama bin Laden, in 2011. Pakistani authorities arrested Afridi and a court has sentenced him to 33 years in prison on treason charges. The issue is at the center of tensions between Washington and Islamabad.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.