News / Asia

    Pakistan to Continue Offensive Until 'All Terrorists are Eliminated'

    FILE - Pakistan's newly appointed army chief General Raheel Sharif attends the change of command ceremony in with outgoing army chief General Ashfaq Kayani (not in picture) at army headquarters in Rawalpindi, Nov. 29, 2013.
    FILE - Pakistan's newly appointed army chief General Raheel Sharif attends the change of command ceremony in with outgoing army chief General Ashfaq Kayani (not in picture) at army headquarters in Rawalpindi, Nov. 29, 2013.
    Ayaz Gul
    Pakistani fighter planes have bombed suspected militant sanctuaries in the troubled North Waziristan border region for a second day as part of a long-demanded military offensive. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the operation, which started Sunday, will continue until all “terrorists” are eliminated.
     
    The military says the counter-terrorism air strikes are targeting locations in North Waziristan where militants have established bases and there is no civilian population nearby. 
     
    Most of the militants killed are being described as members of the fugitive Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which is operating in the area under the umbrella of the Pakistani Taliban. Army officials say several ethnic Uighur fighters linked to the insurgency in China’s Xinjiang province are also among those killed. 
     
    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif defended the military action before Pakistan's parliament, saying Monday the Pakistani Taliban did not reciprocate to his peace initiatives to restore normalcy to the Waziristan territory and bring an end to years of deadly militancy in the country. Instead, he said, terrorists continued bloodshed and violence across the nation without sparing women and children.
     
    He said a decisive operation has been launched to rid Pakistan of terrorism and it will continue until all its objectives are realized. Sharif vowed “not to allow Pakistan become a safe haven for terrorists again at any cost.”
     
    With the approval of all the political parties, the parliament passed a resolution backing the army action, but lawmakers of the two main Islamic parties refused to put their signatures on the document.
     
    A military statement issued Monday quoted Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif as emphasizing that “all terrorists along with their sanctuaries must be eliminated without discrimination."
        
    Pakistani newspaper editorials and independent analysts remain skeptical about whether the military establishment has abandoned its alleged dualist policy of good Taliban and bad Taliban.
     
    Islamabad has long been under fire for battling anti-state Islamist militants and their associates, but tolerating the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network of insurgents who are using North Waziristan for staging cross-border attacks on NATO and Afghan forces.
     
    Pakistan’s reluctance to deny sanctuaries to these extremists has remained a major irritant in its ties with the United States.
     
    The director of the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, Shuja Nawaz, said it is too early to comment on how the Obama administration views the Pakistani counter-terrorism offensive because Washington is heavily distracted by a number of crises in other parts of the world. 
     
    “North Waziristan was seen as the point of contention with Pakistan largely because of the Haqqani group, but I do not see any mention of the Haqqani group in any of the official statements coming out of Rawalpindi or Islamabad.  So, if there has been some kind of arrangement made with the Haqqani group to allow them to exit the territory before the cordon and search operations began then that is something that has yet to be shared with the public,” said Nawaz.
     
    Critics are skeptical about whether the Waziristan military offensive alone can help end the militancy in Pakistan. They say there is a large number of Islamic seminaries around the country where religious and sectarian hatred is taught, while some mainstream Islamic parties are also fueling extremism.
     
    “This is a war that Pakistan is involved in and North Waziristan is probably only the first battle, and we have to wait to see how that goes and whether there will be a will to fight the militancy and terrorism through the country as a whole,” said Nawaz.
     
    Prime Minister Sharif’s controversial peace process remained under fire since it was launched nearly five months ago and demands continued to grow for a military offensive against militant bases in the tribal region in the wake of rising terrorist attacks in the country.
     
    The pressure on Sharif’s administration intensified after a militant raid killed about 40 people last week at the Karachi airport. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, saying Uzbek fighters carried out the raid.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora