Patterico's Pontifications


Pakistani Military to Reclaim the Tribal Areas

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 8:42 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

More bad news, this time for militants in the Pakistani tribal areas.

From the Asia Times Online:

An all-out battle for control of Pakistan’s restive North and South Waziristan is about to commence between the Pakistani military and the Taliban and al-Qaeda adherents who have made these tribal areas their own.

According to a top Pakistani security official who spoke to Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity, the goal this time is to pacify the Waziristans once and for all. All previous military operations – usually spurred by intelligence provided by the Western coalition – have had limited objectives, aimed at specific bases or sanctuaries or blocking the cross-border movement of guerrillas. Now the military is going for broke to break the back of the Taliban and a-Qaeda in Pakistan and reclaim the entire area.

The recent cease-fire reportedly included an ultimatum from the Pakistani military to tribal area militants: Leave Pakistan and never return. The militants refused and now it appears they must stand and fight:

“A qualified estimate by intelligence officials is that Pakistani military pacification of the Waziristans would slash the capability of the Afghan resistance by 85% as well as deliver a serious setback to the Iraqi resistance.

The militants have little option but to stand and fight, rather than slip across the border or melt into the local population. Aside from the sanctuary and succor afforded them in the Waziristans, most of the fighters there are either Waziris, or from other parts of Pakistan, or foreigners. They would be unable to support themselves in Afghanistan, especially as most of the non-Waziris do not speak Pashtu – a fact that also prevents them from disappearing into the Waziristan populace.”

Reports are this offensive will degrade resistance in Afghanistan and Iraq. The report also includes a claim that the Pakistani military will use Shiite, not Sunni or Pashtun, troops:

“Underscoring the seriousness with which the military is planning for the coming battle, it is reported that Shi’ite soldiers from northern Pakistan are being sent to the Waziristans. In the past, the Pakistani Army has been plagued by desertions of Pashtun and Sunni troops who refuse to fight fellow Pashtuns or Sunnis.”

We’ll see if this really happens but, if it’s true, it’s good news for everyone but the militants.


22 Responses to “Pakistani Military to Reclaim the Tribal Areas”

  1. Let’s hope it’s true. I wonder if it is being publicized in order to drive some of the AQ to try to push back into Afghanistan and a waiting trap…

    voiceofreason (0f11dc)

  2. I hope so. That may also be the reason the militants were told they could voluntarily go to Afghanistan and they declined.

    DRJ (67ced6)

  3. Even if true it just means they will shift to Iran. Until the US makes Iran hurt they will continue to support the war in Iraq.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  4. If Pakistan’s government can survive and the offensive works this would be like, more bad news for this Democrats.

    This has been a tough month for the left.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  5. I wonder what will/would happen under Bhutto.

    Itsme (871b28)

  6. #4
    That is too broad of a statement. there are plenty of Democrats who are over there fighting, that will be thrilled things are looking up in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    We win as Americans not as one party or the other.

    voiceofreason (0f11dc)

  7. Captain Ed has a discussion of this issue here.

    He’s wrong, by the way, and I’m right. Check the comments for the real meat of thinking on the issue: “Ctrl f” for “Posted by Christoph”. Other commentators make some good points and many make bad ones.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  8. By the way… I hope the loyalty issues are addressed by using Shia troops and this offensive is successful. I wish them Godspeed.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  9. Quick last comment… you highlighted the major problem, DRJ, and that is troop loyalty. That was the main thrust of my comments at Captain Ed’s. I must say in all sincerity that this is very astute of you: you gave it far more weight and understanding than most male bloggers I’ve read with no military experience.

    Having read your posts for some time, I believe you are a much better geostrategic (including economic factors, logistics, technological differences, etc.) and military thinker than a legal one… and by this I mean you are above average at the former.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  10. Christoph – Thanks for pointing out that you act like a dickhead on other blogs. Your ego knows no bounds. “I’m right, he’s wrong – go read my comments.”


    daleyrocks (906622)

  11. daleyrocks, I am right, he is wrong, but… this new strategy of Musharraf’s could turn the tables… which would be excellent.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  12. Oh the humiliation. These Muslims fanatics will be exterminated by a woman’s orders.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  13. We win as Americans not as one party or the other.

    Funny how it was “Bush’s War” or “The Neocon’s War” when the Democrats still thought they could still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But now that it’s clear to even the 11%-ers that we’re not going to lose, we’re amazingly all in it together.

    Say, whatever happened to “Not in Our Name”?

    Shad (ed8abc)

  14. Shad nailed it.

    Old Coot (20ca0f)

  15. Shad,

    You miss the point entirely.
    (1) Many Democrats serve in the military, hence saying this is bad news for the Democrats is inaccurate by a long shot. I’m sure you have a relative or two who is a Democrat. Are they traitors and wishing for defeat? If not, do you think they are the only Democrats who feel this way?

    (2)If you think these kinds of statements are going to win over moderate Democrats and win the WH you are mistaken.

    (3) People who like to say things like this seem to be saying that the politics of it is more important than our country prevailing and as ensuring that as few military casualities as possible are needed to accomplish this.

    voiceofreason (0f11dc)

  16. Yes who would ever think to characterize the dhimmierats as the party thathates our troops or doesn’t support the war? Not VOR, but then again he believed Walter Duranty and still believes Clinton.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  17. No, “voiceofreason”, I did not miss the point at all.

    I am not concerned about winning over moderate Democrats or winning the WH — in fact, I’m not even running for office, so I don’t need their votes!

    I agree that the people who have relied on foolish rhetorical clubs for the last half-decade along the lines of “Not In Our Name,” “Bush’s War,” and “But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people, if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement” have concluded that playing gutter-level politics is more important than our country prevailing in a military endeavor.

    And that is why I think it’s funny to see one of the 11%-ers trying to claim (in a Harry Reid-esque fashion) that “we” will win.

    Shad (ed8abc)

  18. Thomas,

    Ok I got it. Democrats are the devil. Those who wear the uniforma and register as Dems need to be summarily executed. Check. Got your point loud and clear.

    Answer the two questions I asked you.

    voiceofreason (0f11dc)

  19. Things have never been peaceful in the Tribal Areas, and this will certainly bring the pot to a boil.

    The Pak Army is very disciplined, and will take the fight to who they perceive to be enemies of the nation. They do not react well to negative responses to requests for action.

    As I posted some time back re Iran, Afghanistan blocks the direct route from Waziristan to Iran, giving the Pak Army a possible blockade of any direct retreat for A-Q forces. If they are forced to cross into Afghan territory, I feel confident that an appropriate welcoming will be arrainged.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  20. The Pak Army is very disciplined…

    No, not really. That’s the problem.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  21. I would surmise that part of the problem of dis-obeying orders could be explained by tribal/ethnic loyalties. I would be willing to wager that the units that are deployed for combat into the Tribal Areas, will be composed of soldiers from other areas of Pakistan, not from Waziristan or adjacent areas.

    I will tell you that when I was there (admittedly some time ago, under a previous military regime that Ms. Bhutto’s father was a member of), you didn’t do something the Army had proscribed. This rule applied to both Pakistan citizens, and foreigners. And, I never heard of any insubordination in the ranks.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  22. VORE:
    Isn’t that what MoveOn advocates of our troops. The same group tht the dhimmierats takes orders from and then turned on our soldiers. Yes we know how patriotic dhimmierats are.

    Strange when I was in the military no soldier ever spoke of being a “party member.” You owed it to your buddies to watch their backs because you depended on them to cover yours.

    This is a concept that is alien to those who haven’t served and who would attempt to fit the troops into partisan roles.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

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