War in North-West Pakistan


War in North-West Pakistan

Infobox War


caption=District map of NWFP and FATA.
conflict=War in North-West Pakistan
partof= the War on Terrorism
date=March 2004–ongoing
place=Federally Administered Tribal Areas and North-West Frontier Province in Pakistan
result=ongoing
combatant1=flag|Pakistan,
flag|United States
combatant2=flagicon|Afghanistan|Taliban Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan,
Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi,
Lashkar-e-Islam,
(until 2007)
commander1=flagicon|Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari,
flagicon|Pakistan General Ashfaq Kayani,
flagicon|Pakistan Lt Gen Masood Aslam,
flagicon|Pakistan Maj Gen Javed Iqbal,
flagicon|Pakistan Maj Gen Tariq Khan,
flagicon|Pakistan Maj Gen Nasser Janjua,
flagicon|Pakistan Maj Gen Khalid Rabbani
"Former commanders"
flagicon|Pakistan Gen Pervez Musharraf,
flagicon|Pakistan Lt Gen Safdar Hussain,
flagicon|Pakistan Maj Gen Alam Khattak,
flagicon|Pakistan Maj Gen Ahmad S Pasha
commander2=flagicon|Afghanistan|Taliban Baitullah Mehsud,
flagicon|Afghanistan|Taliban Hafiz Gul Bahadur,
flagicon|Afghanistan|Taliban Faqir Mohammed,
Maulana Fazlullah,
Mangal Bagh
"Fugitives"
strength1=80,000 Pakistani troops [ [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aCkMAj8lVUB8&refer=home Bloomberg.com: Worldwide ] ] ,
~80,000 Frontier Corps
strength2=Unknown
casualties1=1,370 soldiers and policemen killed (official) [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hkiMxbHNH0BqgpWA2ZG6VD6wVTmAD93GH45O1]
Other estimates:
1,815 soldiers and policemen killed
133 tribesmen killedhttp://in.news.yahoo.com/071114/139/6n8m0.html] ,
2,259 soldiers wounded,
810 soldiers and policemen missing or captured [ [http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=9870 Over 200 soldiers in captivity of militants By Mushtaq Yusufzai & Sailab Mahsud] September 3, 2007 The News International, Pakistan]
casualties2=4,594+ militants killed [http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=15771] [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-09/26/content_10118035.htm]
(488 foreign fighters )
casualties3=5,320 civilians killed,
25 foreigners killed
(11 Frenchmen, 9 Americans, 4 Chinese, 1 Czech, 1 Dane, 1 Turk and 1 Vietnamese) [ [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=15292] [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hkiMxbHNH0BqgpWA2ZG6VD6wVTmAD93GH45O1] [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/123833/Suicide-attacks-soar-in-Pakistan-since-2007]

The War in North-West Pakistan is an armed conflict between the Pakistani Army and Islamist militants made up by local tribesmen, the Taliban and foreign extremists. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/24/AR2006012401528.html The War in Pakistan - washingtonpost.com ] ] [ [http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=176983 FEATURE-Pakistan lifts veil on not-so-secret Waziristan war ] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3645114.stm BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan's undeclared war ] ] It began in 2004 when tensions rooted in the Pakistani Army's search for al-Qaeda members in Pakistan's mountainous Waziristan area (in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas) escalated into armed resistance by local tribesmen.

Clashes erupted between the Pakistani troops and al-Qaeda's and other militants joined by local rebels and pro-Taliban forces. The Pakistani actions were presented as a part of the War on Terrorism, and had connections to the war and Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. [cite web|title=Killing scares media away from Waziristan|url= http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0622/p07s02-wosc.html|publisher=Christian Science Monitor|date=2006-06-22|author=David Montero|accessdate=2008-08-25] [cite web|title=Pakistan attacks Waziristan compound|url= http://english.aljazeera.net/archive/2006/06/2008410114854246429.html |publisher=Al Jazeera|date=2006-03-16|accessdate=2008-08-25]

After a truce in September 2006, clashes escalated again in 2007, with local tribesmen ousting militant Uzbeks and attacking the Pakistani security forces again in July 2007.

Since the conflict began, Pakistan has lost more than twice the number of its soldiers compared to the number of US troops killed in Afghanistan. However, as of September 2008, the number of militants killed by the Pakistan Army reached the 4,500 mark. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4111277.ece]

Background

July 2002: Initial troop movements

In July 2002, Pakistani troops entered the Tirah Valley in the Khyber Agency for the first time since Pakistan independence in 1947. They proceeded to move into the Shawal Valley of North Waziristan, and later South Waziristan. This was made possible after long negotiations with various tribes, who reluctantly agreed to allow the military's presence on the assurance that it would bring in funds and development work.

However, once the military action started in South Waziristan a number of Waziri sub-tribes viewed the action as an attempt to subjugate them. As attempts to persuade them to hand over the foreign militants failed, and missteps by the authorities increased feelings of ill-will, the security campaign against suspected al-Qaeda militants turned into an undeclared war in 2004 between the Pakistani military and the rebel tribesmen.

December 2003: Waziri attempts on President Musharraf's life

In December 2003, two assassination attempts against President Pervez Musharraf were traced to Waziristan. The government responded by intensifying military pressure on the area, however the fighting was costly and government forces would sustain heavy casualties throughout 2004 and into early 2005 when the government switched to a tactic of negotiation instead of direct conflict.cite news | title = Al Qaeda Finds Its Center of Gravity | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/10/weekinreview/10rohde.html | first = David | last = Rohde | publisher = New York Times | date = 2006-09-10 | accessdate = 2006-09-12 ]

Timeline

March 2004–September 2006 phase

2004: Fighting breaks out

In March 2004, heavy fighting broke out at Azam Warsak, near the South Waziristan town of Wana. Pakistani troops faced an estimated 400 militants holed up in several fortified settlements. It was speculated at the time that Osama bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was among those trapped by the Pakistani Army, but he either escaped or was never among these fighters.

Peace deals with Taliban

In April 2004 the Government of Pakistan signed the first of three peace agreements with militants in South Waziristan. It was signed with Taliban commander Nek Muhammad Wazir, but was immediately abrogated once Nek Muhammad was killed by American Hellfire missile in June 2004. The second was signed in February 2005 with Nek's successor Baitullah Mehsud, which brought relative calm in the South Waziristan region. This deal will be later mimicked in the neighboring North Waziristan territory in September 2006 as the third and final truce between the government and the militants. However, all of these truces would not have a substantial effect in reducing bloodshed. The later two deals were officially broken in August 2007 after the Lal Masjid episode raising the suicide attacks on forces and civilians ten-fold throughout the country.

2005

On May 4, 2005, Pakistani commandos captured Abu Faraj al-Libbi after a raid outside the town of Mardan, 30 miles north of Peshwar. Abu Farraj al-Libbi was a high ranking al-Qaeda official, rumored to be third after Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Libbi replaced Khalid Shaikh Mohammed after his arrest in March 2003 in connection with the September 11th attacks. The Pakistani government arrested al-Libbi and held him on charges in relation to being a chief planner in two assassination attempts on the life of President Pervez Musharraf in December 2003. [cite news|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-05-04-pakistan-arrest_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA |title=Pakistan reports arrest of Osama bin Laden's operations chief | author=John Diamond | publisher=USA Today |date=2005-05-04]

2006

On January 13, 2006, the U.S. launched an airstrike on the village of Damadola. The attack occurred in the Bajaur tribal area, about 7 km (4.5 miles) from the Afghan border, and killed at least 18 people. The attack again targeted Ayman al-Zawahiri, but later evidence suggests he was not there. DNA analysis showed that at least five high-ranking al-Qaeda foreigners were killed, including Midhat Mursi, a bomb building expert, for whom a $5 million award was offered.Fact|date=February 2007

On March 4, 2006, Pakistani forces started a massive assault on pro-Taliban elements in the region. Pakistani officials said 46 militants and five soldiers died after fighting erupted, although some reports put the death toll at over 70.Fact|date=March 2007

On June 21, 2006, pro-Taliban militants in the Bannu region of North Waziristan stated they shot down a military helicopter that was reported to have crashed. The government denied missile fire as the cause, stating it was due to technical faults. On the same day militants killed an inspector and two constables on a road connecting Bannu and the main town of Miranshah; the police officers were reportedly ambushed and killed while praying alongside their vehicle. [cite news | title = 'Policemen killed' in Waziristan | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5104784.stm | publisher = BBC News | date = 2006-06-22 | accessdate = 2006-08-07 ]

June 2006: Ceasefire

Also on June 21, 2006 the military head of the Taliban in Waziristan, Sirajuddin Haqqani, issued a decree that it was no longer Taliban policy to fight the Pakistan Army. This marked the end of significant fighting in South Waziristan, however the Taliban intentionally did not circulate the decree in North Waziristan thereby keeping pressure on the Government as the terms for a comprehensive accord were worked out. [cite news|url=http://www.dawn.com/2006/06/23/top2.htm|title=Forces, militants heading for truce|publisher=Dawn|date=2006-06-22]

On June 26, 2006, a suicide car bomber killed nine Pakistani soldiers. Officials say that the explosives-laden vehicle detonated about six kilometres (four miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan region. [cite news | title = 'Suicide attack' on Pakistan army | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5117472.stm | publisher = BBC News | date = 2006-06-26 | accessdate = 2006-08-07 ]

eptember 2006: Waziristan peace accord signed

On September 5 2006, the Waziristan Accord, an agreement between tribal leaders and the Pakistani government was signed in Miranshah, North Waziristan. [ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1154525988190&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull Pakistan, Taliban militants sign peace agreement] ] to end all fighting. The agreement includes the following provisions: [ [http://www.dawn.com/2006/09/06/top2.htm Waziristan accord signed] ]

* The Pakistani Army will help reconstruct infrastructure in tribal areas of North and South Waziristan.
* The Pakistani Military will not tolerate any assistance to intruders in North Waziristan, and will monitor actions in the region.
* The Pakistan government is to compensate tribal leaders for the loss of life and property of innocent tribesmen.
* “Foreigners” (informally understood to be foreign jihadists) are not allowed to use Pakistani territory for any terrorist activity anywhere in the world.
* 2,500 foreigners who were originally held on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda or the Taliban [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/15/wpak15.xml US outraged as Pakistan frees Taliban fighters] - Daily Telegraph] were to be detained for necessary action against them.

The agreement, dubbed the Waziristan accord, has been viewed by some political commentators as a success for Pakistan. [ [http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2006Sep13/0,4670,PakistanTruceorSurrenderLH1,00.html Some See Pakistan's Truce As a Defeat] - Fox news] Further details of the agreement, as well as comments on the agreement made by US, Pakistani, and Taliban spokesmen is available in the Waziristan accord article.

October 2006: The madrassa air strike

On October 30, 2006, the Pakistani army conducted an air strike, with possible U.S. involvement, against a madrassa in the Bajaur region bordering Afghanistan. The madrassa was destroyed killing 70 to 80 people.

In retaliation for the attack the militants conducted a suicide bombing on an army camp on November 8, 2006, killing 42 Pakistani soldiers and wounding 20.

March–April 2007 phase

In March, Pakistan signed a peace treaty with Faqir Mohammed, the Taliban leader in Bajaur. [cite news | title =Pakistan signs the Bajaur Accord| author =Roggio B| publisher =The Long War Journal| date=17 March 2007| url=http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/03/pakistan_signs_the_b.php Retrieved on 14 January 2008.] [cite news | title =Bajaur: When 'Peace' Yields War| author =Stakelbeck E| publisher =CBN News| date=3 April 2007| url=http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/130966.aspx Retrieved on 14 January 2008.] The Taliban now held three districts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas: South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Bajaur Agency. [cite news | author =Roggio B| title =The fall of northwestern Pakistan: An online history| publisher =The Long War Journal| url=http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2006/09/the_fall_of_wazirist.php Retrieved on 13 January 2008.]

Waziri-Uzbek tensions

Reportedly, the fighting sparked by the killing of Saiful Adil, an al-Qaeda-linked Arab, blamed on the Uzbeks by Maulavi Nazir, described as a top pro-Taliban militant commander in the region. According to the other version, fighting started after Mullah Nazir, whom the government says has come over to its side, ordered the Uzbek followers of Tohir Yo‘ldosh, formerly a close confidant of Osama bin Laden, to disarm. It was also preceded by the clashes between the IMU and a pro-government tribal leader in Azam Warsak, in which 17 to 19 people died before a ceasefire was announced. [cite news | title =Rival militants clash in Pakistan | publisher =BBC| date=20 March 2007| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6470299.stmFailed verification|date=January 2008]

Defeat of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, tried to stop the fighting but failed. Local Taliban militants allied to the tribesmen were reported attacking and seizing the IMU's private jail in Azam Warsak. The Pakistan Army said did not intend to step in, but witnesses say government artillery fired on the Uzbek bunkers they set up to fight the tribesmen.

Heavy fighting resumed on March 29, ending a week-long ceasefire between tribal fighters and foreign militants. According to initial reports, tribesmen attacked a checkpoint manned by Uzbek militants and captured two of them. The clashes also left one tribal fighter dead and three wounded. The following day, a senior Pakistani official announced that 52 people were killed during the past two days, 45 of them Uzbeks and the rest tribesmen. One of Maulvi Nazir's aides put the death toll at 35 Uzbeks and 10 tribal fighters. However, residents in the area said that the death toll on both sides was inflated.

The conflict further escalated on April 2 when a council of elders declared jihad against foreign militants and started to raise an army of tribesmen. According to Pakistani security officials, heavy fighting concentrated in the village of Doza Ghundai left more than 60 people dead, including 50 foreigners, 10 tribal fighters and one Pakistani soldier. He also said that "dozens" of Uzbeks had surrendered to tribal forces and that many bunkers used by militants were seized or destroyed.

On April 12 2007 the army general in charge of South Waziristan said that tribal fighters had cleared the Uzbeks out of the valleys surrounding Wana and the foreign militants had been pushed back into the mountains on the Afghan border. [cite news | title =Tribesmen 'oust' foreign fighters | author =Plett B| publisher =BBC| date=12 April 2007| url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6547783.stm Retrieved on 16 January 2008.] Four days later, the local tribesmen has urged Islamabad to resume control of law and order in the area. [cite news | title =Tribe in Pakistan security plea | publisher =BBC| date=16 April 2007| url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6559365.stm Retrieved on 16 January 2008.]

July 2007–February 2008 phase

Lal Masjid siege

On July 3, 2007, the militant supporters of Lal Masjid and Pakistani security forces clashed in Islamabad after the students from the mosque attacked a nearby government ministry building. The Pakistani security forces immediately put up a siege around the mosque complex which lasted until July 11 and resulted in 108 deaths. This represented the main catalyst for the conflict and eventual breakdown of the truce that existed between Pakistan and the Taliban in the northwest. Already during the siege there were several attacks in Waziristan in retaliation for the siege.

Truce in Waziristan broken

As the siege in Islamabad ensued, several attacks on Pakistani troops in Waziristan were reported. On July 14, 2007, a suicide bomber attacked a Pakistani Army convoy killing 26 soldiers and wounding 54. On July 15, 2007, two suicide bombers attacked another Pakistani Army convoy killing 16 soldiers and 5 civilians and wounding another 47 people. And in a separate incident a fourth suicide bomber attacked a police headquarters killing 28 police officers and recruits and wounding 35 people. [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,289340,00.html FOXNews.com - Two Days of Homicide Attacks Kill 70 in Pakistan - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News ] ] [ [http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/fairenough/nytA31.html Suicide Bombers Kill 49 in Pakistan ] ]

The assault on the Red Mosque prompted pro-Taliban rebels along the border with Afghanistan to scrap the controversial Waziristan Accord with the government. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6905808.stm BBC NEWS | South Asia | Scores killed in Pakistan attacks ] ]

The new war in Waziristan

The Army moved large concentration of troops into Waziristan and engaged in fierce clashes with militants in which at least 100 militants were killed including wanted terrorist and former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Abdullah Mehsud. [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070724/ap_on_re_as/pakistan_militant_leader] The militants also struck back by attacking Army convoys, security check points and sending suicide bombers killing dozens of soldiers and police and over 100 civilians. In one month of fighting during the period from July 24 to August 24, 2007, 250 militants and 60 soldiers were killed.

On September 2, 2007, just a few dozen militants led by Baitullah Mehsud managed to ambush a 17-vehicle army convoy and captured an estimated 247 soldiers in it, without a shot being fired; an event that shocked the nation. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6978240.stm Pakistan crisis 'hits army morale' By Ahmed Rashid] 6 September 2007 - BBC] Several officers were among the captured.

After the army returned to Waziristan, they garrisoned the areas and set up check-points, but the militants hit hard. In mid-September Taliban forces attacked a number of Pakistani army outposts all across North and South Waziristan. This resulted in some of the heaviest fighting of the war. On September 12, 2007, the first outpost was attacked and overrun by the Taliban resulting in the capture of 12 Pakistani soldiers. The next day on September 13, 2007, a suicide bomber in Ghazi Tarbela attacked a Pakistani army base, destroying the main mess hall and killing 20 members of the Karar commando group; Pakistan's most elite army unit. Another 29 soldiers were wounded. A series of attacks ensued and by September 20, 2007 a total of five Pakistani Army military outposts had been overrun and more than 25 soldiers captured. More than 65 soldiers were either killed or captured and almost 100 wounded.

A little over two weeks later, the Army responded with helicopter gunships, jet fighters and ground troops. They hit militant positions near the town of Mir Ali. In heavy fighting over four days between October 7 and October 10 2007, 257 people were killed, including 175 militants, 47 soldiers and 35 civilians.

Battle of Swat Valley

By the end of October fighting erupted in the Swat district of the North-West Frontier Province, with a large Taliban force, under the command of Maulana Fazlullah, trying to impose Sharia law. Around 3,000 paramilitary soldiers were sent to confront them. After almost a week of heavy fighting the battle came to a standstill with both sides suffering heavy casualties. Then on November 1 and November 3, 220 paramilitary soldiers and policemen surrendered or deserted after a military position on a hill-top and two police stations were overrun. This left the Taliban in control of most of the Swat district.

The fighting in Swat is the first serious insurgent threat from pro-Taliban forces in what is known as a settled area of Pakistan. Forces loyal to Maulana Fazlullah, including some foreign fighters, after taking control of a series of small towns and villages, tried to implement strict Islamic law in November 2007. In mid-November the regular army was deployed with the help of helicopter gunships to crush the uprising. The Pakistan Army deployed over 2,500 men. By the beginning of December the fighting had ended and the Army recaptured Swat. Almost 400 pro-Taliban fighters were dead along with 15 Pakistani soldiers and 20 civilians in the military offensive. [ [http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/17/top7.htm 12-hour curfew clamped on Swat -DAWN - Top Stories; November 17, 2007 ] ]

The Rawalpindi attacks

The city of Rawalpindi, which is the military headquarters of the Pakistan Armed Forces, was an attractive target for the militants and they were planning to hit the city.Fact|date=January 2008 On September 3, two suicide bombers targeted a military intelligence (ISI) bus and a line of cars carrying ISI officers. The bus attack killed a large number of Defence Ministry workers and the other attack killed an Army colonel. In all 31 people, 19 soldiers and 12 civilians, were killed.

Over two months later on November 24, in a similar fashion a pair of suicide bombers struck. Again, one of the targets was a military intelligence bus. Almost everyone on the bus was killed. The other bomber blew up at a military checkpoint. 35 people were killed, almost all military.Fact|date=November 2007

State of emergency

The 2007 Pakistani state of emergency was declared by Pervez Musharraf on 2007-11-03 and lasted until 2007-12-15. During this time the constitution of the country was suspended.cite web | title= Musharraf imposes emergency rule | publisher=Dawn | url=http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/04/top1.htm|date=2007-11-03| accessdate=2007-11-03 ] cite web | title= Martial law declared in Pakistan|publisher=CNN | url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/11/03/pakistan.emergency/index.html |date=2007-11-03| accessdate=2007-11-03] This action and its responses are generally related to the controversies surrounding the re-election of Musharraf during the presidential election that had occurred on 2007-10-06, and also was claimed by the government to be the reaction to the actions by Islamic militants in Waziristan. [cite news| url = http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2800993.ece| title =Pervez Musharraf spoils for a fight as he declares emergency rule| date=2007-11-04 |accessdate= 2007-11-04 |publisher= The Times]

Benazir Bhutto's assassination

On 27 December 2007, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed upon leaving a political rally for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. [cite web |url=http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/737B73AE-EE5D-4C41-8CA2-E04B356FBCBC.htm |title=Bhutto killed in suicide attack |accessdate=2007-12-27 |format=HTML |work=Al Jazeera English ] [ [http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=73377&videoChannel=1 Benazir Bhutto is dead] Reuter's video] A suicidal assassin reportedly fired shots in Bhutto's direction just prior to detonating an explosive pellet-laden vest, killing approximately 24 people and wounding many more. [cite news |title=Benazir Bhutto Assination NBC News Coverage |url=http://test.redlasso.com/service/svc/clip/playClip?fid=7ed304c1-5472-469b-a209-a9a696368d89 |publisher=NBC |date=2007-12-27 |accessdate=2007-12-27] [cite news |title=Benazir Bhutto Assination CBS News Coverage |url=http://test.redlasso.com/service/svc/clip/playClip?fid=cc91d5dd-83e9-444d-9624-ae1816a31612 |publisher=CBS |date=2007-12-27 |accessdate=2007-12-27] [cite news |title=Benazir Bhutto Assination ABC News Coverage |url=http://test.redlasso.com/service/svc/clip/playClip?fid=67553fa0-c7ba-48cb-8a3a-2152ec570595 |publisher=ABC |date=2007-12-27 |accessdate=2007-12-27] Musharraf and the army blamed the attack on Al-Qaida, but the following day a statement by Commander Baitullah Mehsud was sent to the media saying that he and Al-Qaida had no involvement in the murder of the former Prime Minister, he briefed that these were the crimes of Musharraf and the army. The killing was followed by a wave of violence across the country that left 58 people dead, including four police officers. Most of the violence was directed at Musharraf and the pro-Musharraf political party, Pakistan Muslim League (Q).The public chanted slogans against the army and Musharraf: "Musharraf Dog", "General is a murderer", "uniform (army) wearing murderers", etc.Bhutto had previously survived an assassination attempt made on her life during her homecoming which left 139 people dead and hundreds wounded.cite news|first=Carlotta|last=Gall|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/19/world/asia/19pakistan.html|title=Bomb Attack Kills Scores in Pakistan as Bhutto Returns|coauthors=Masood, Salman|publisher=The New York Times|date=2007-10-19|accessdate=2007-12-27]

More fighting in South Waziristan

In January 2008, pro-Taliban militants overran Sararogha Fort, and may have overrun a fort in Ladah as well. Both forts are in South Waziristan, and were held by the Pakistani army. [cite news | title =Pakistani troops 'flee border post'|publisher =Al Jazeera | date=17 January 2008| url =http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/EA53A69D-1973-4C86-8064-D4FCB4C40FB1.htm Retrieved on 18 January 2008.] Gunmen fired on a children's aid group in in the North West Frontier Province February 25, 2008, leaving four staffers dead. On the same day as the children's aid group attack, another suicide bomber struck in the garrison-town of Rawalpindi killing Pakistani Lt. Gen. Mushtaq Baig along with two more soldiers and five civilians. Baig was the army's surgeon general and the highest-level military official to be assassinated since Pakistan joined the U.S.-led war on terror. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/02/25/pakistan.blast/index.html Pakistan attacks hit aid group, military HQ - CNN.com ] ]

At least 45 people died and 82 were wounded in a suicide attack on the funeral February 29 2008 of a district superintendent of police – killed earlier in the day in a separate attack – in northwest Pakistan's Swat province. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/01/pakistan.explosion/index.html 45 killed in Pakistan funeral blast - CNN.com ] ]

Peace agreement

On 7 February, 2008, a leading militant group led by Baitullah Mehsud offered a truce and peace negotiations resulting in a suspension of violence. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7232203.stm BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistani militants 'call truce' ] ]

On May 21, 2008 Pakistan signed a peace agreement with Taliban fighters. Pakistan's government promised to "gradually" pull out troops from the northwestern valley of Swat. In return the Taliban were due to shut down training camps, hand over foreign fighters and halt suicide attacks on government installations and security forces under the 15-point pact. [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D1AC8679-0D78-4829-952A-004CCA5DA283.htm Al Jazeera English - News - Pakistan Troops To Vacate Swat ] ]

June 2008 - Present

Despite the agreement sporadic fighting continued until late June and escalated with the takeover of the town of Jandola on June 24, by the militants. 22 pro-government tribal fighters were captured and executed by the Taliban at that time. [ [http://www.dawn.com/2008/06/24/top8.htm Baitullah men storm Jandola -DAWN - Top Stories; June 24, 2008 ] ]

There had been growing concern about threats to Peshawar from Taliban fighters. In early June, a Taliban force from Khyber entered the city and seized 16 Christians, before later releasing them. Mahmood Shah, a former security chief in the tribal regions, said: "The situation is such that [the Taliban] are all around Peshawar. They are on our doorstep." [ [http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2008/06/2008628841648797.html Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Pakistan forces in Khyber offensive ] ]

On June 28, 2008, Pakistan's Army started an offensive against Taliban fighters in Khyber. The military took control of a key town and demolished an insurgent group's building. 1 militant was reportedly killed while 2 soldiers died in Swat valley. [ [http://www.france24.com/en/20080629-pakistan-broadens-anti-militant-offensive France 24 | Pakistan broadens anti-militant offensive | France 24 ] ] The operation was halted in early July.

On July 6, 2008, a suicide bomber attacked a police station in Islamabad killing 12 policemen and seven civilians. Another 53 people were wounded. The police were part of a protection cordon set up by the government for a rally which was attended by about 12,000 people who were marking the first anniversary of government forces storming Islamabad's Red Mosque, or Lal Masjid. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/07/06/pakistan.blast/index.html Suicide blast targeting police kills 16 at Pakistan rally - CNN.com ] ]

On July 12, 2008, militants ambushed a military convoy killing 17 soldiers.Fact|date=July 2008

On July 19, 2008, clashes erupted between the Taliban and a rival faction of alleged pro-government Taliban militants. 10-15 of the pro-government fighters were killed and another 120 were captured. Among the captured were two commanders who were tried under "Islamic" law by the Taliban and then executed.

On July 21, 2008, heavy fighting in Baluchistan killed 32 militants, 9 soldiers and 2 civilians. More than two dozen militants were captured and a large weapons cache was found. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080721/wl_nm/pakistan_baluchistan_dc_1 Fighting flares in Pakistan's Baluchistan; 43 killed - Yahoo! News ] ]

Between July 28 and August 4 2008, heavy fighting flared up in the northwestern Swat valley leaving 94 militants and 22 soldiers and policemen dead. Another 28 civilians were also killed. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080804/wl_nm/pakistan_violence_dc_2 Ninety-four militants, 14 troops killed in NW Pakistan - Yahoo! News ] ]

Heavy fighting erupted on August 6 2008, in the Loisam area of Bajaur district. Loisam lies on the strategically important road leading towards the main northwestern city of Peshawar. The fighting started when hundreds of militants poured into the area attacking government forces. After four days of fighting on August 10 the military withdrew from the area. 100 militants and 9 soldiers were confirmed killed and another 55 soldiers were missing, at least three dozen of them captured by the militants. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080810/wl_afp/pakistanafghanistanunrest_080810132035 100 militants, nine soldiers killed in Pakistan clashes - Yahoo! News ] ] [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pakistan10-2008aug10,0,6869936.story Pakistan fighting ends as troops withdraw - Los Angeles Times ] ] While the fighting was going on in Bajaur, in the Buner area of North West Frontier Province militants killed at least nine policemen in an attack on a check post. [ [http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20080809/876/twl-taliban-militants-kill-nine-policeme_1.html Taliban militants kill nine policemen in Pakistan - Yahoo! India News ] ] The checkpoint was then abandoned, and the local Pakistani forces withdrew to Khar, the main town of Bajaur Agency. There were reports that the town of Khar was then besieged by tribal militants. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7552425.stm BBC NEWS | South Asia | 'Dozens die' in Pakistan clashes ] ]

On 23 August 2008, at least 15 people were killed in a suicide attack at a police check post in Char Bagh area of Swat. Also, three persons including two kids were killed in a bomb blast in Abuha. [ [http://thenews.jang.com.pk/updates.asp?id=52931 15 feared dead in Swat suicide bombings] ]

Tribesmen declare war against the Taliban

By the beginning of September 2008, Pakistani tribal elders began organising a private army of approximately 30,000 tribesmen to fight the taliban. A lashkar, or private army, comprised of Pakistani tribesmen, began torching the houses of Taliban commanders in Bajaur, near the Afghan border, vowing to fight them until they are expelled.

A local jirga decided to form the lashkar in the wake of the increasing presence of the local Taliban in the area. The lashkar began torching houses, including the house of a local Taliban commander named Naimatullah, who had occupied several government schools and converted them into seminaries.

A tribal elder named Malik Munsib Khan, who heads the lashkar, said that tribesmen would continue their struggle until the Taliban were expelled from the area, adding that anyone found sheltering Taliban militants would be fined one million rupees and their houses will be torched. The tribesmen also torched two important centres of the Taliban in the area and gained control of most of the tehsil.

The main reasons for this was that the operations that were taking place in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas had displaced some 300,000 people while dozens of citizens have been killed in clashes between the militants and military. This showcases why the Taliban have become highly unpopular with the tribal elders and their tribesmen. [http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0901/p99s01-duts.html] [http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/53151.html] [http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/53151.html]

US support and aid for Pakistani tribesmen

Recent American military proposals outlines an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the frontier areas of Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as part of a broader effort to bolster Pakistani forces against militancy in the region.

The proposal is modeled in part on a similar effort by American forces in Iraq that has been hailed as a great success in fighting foreign insurgents there. But it raises the question of whether such partnerships can be forged without a significant American military presence in Pakistan. And it is unclear whether enough support can be found among the tribes. Small numbers of United States military personnel have served as advisers to the Pakistani Army in the tribal areas, giving planning advice and helping to integrate American intelligence. Under this new approach, the number of advisers would increase.

American officials said these security improvements complemented a package of assistance from the Agency for International Development and the State Department for the seven districts of the tribal areas that amounted to $750 million over five years, and would involve work in education, health and other sectors. The State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is also assisting the Frontier Corps with financing for counternarcotics work. [http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/19/america/19policy.php] [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/washington/19policy.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&ref=world&adxnnlx=1222717017-fvB/geZ6uJD4OkQF6LCPSg&oref=slogin] [http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache:Fda3_xPQYTkJ:www.state.gov/p/sca/rls/2008/106495.htm+US+support+pakistani+tribes&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=19&gl=uk]

Islamabad Marriott Hotel Bombing

On 23 September 2008, the Pakistani Army, backed by helicopter gunships and artillery killed more than 60 insurgents in northwest Pakistan in offensives as the response to the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing over the weekend at the Marriott hotel in the capital Islamabad that killed 53 people. In the nearby Bajur tribal region, the Army killed at least 10 militants during an ongoing offensive there, according to government officials. [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,426207,00.html] ]

The Bajur operations, which the army says has left more than 700 suspected militants dead, has won praise from U.S. officials who are worried about rising violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hkiMxbHNH0BqgpWA2ZG6VD6wVTmAD93CC4R00] ]

Renewed Bajaur offensive

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari publicly vowed revenge in response to the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing. By 26 September 2008, Pakistani troops had successfully conducted and completed a major offensive in the Bajaur and the Tang Khata regions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Pakistani troops had killed over 1,000 militants in a huge offensive, a day after President Asif Ali Zardari lashed out at US forces over a clash on the Afghan border.

Tariq Khan, Inspector General of the Paramilitary Frontier Corps, mentioned to journalists that since the beginning of the Bajaur operations, there were up to 2,000 militant fighters including hundreds of foreigners who were fighting with the soldiers and the security forces. The overall death toll was over 1,000 militants and also adding that 27 Pakistani soldiers had also been killed with 111 soldiers seriously wounded. [http://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking_news_detail.asp?id=6788&icid=4&d_str=20080926] [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Pakistan/Pakistan_says_five_top_militants_among_1000_dead_in_offensive/articleshow/3530363.cms]

Five top Al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders were among those killed in a month-long operation in Bajaur. Of the five militant commanders killed, four appeared to be foreigners: Egyptian Abu Saeed Al-Masri; Abu Suleiman, an Arab; an Uzbek commander named Mullah Mansoor; and an Afghan commander called Manaras. The fifth was a Pakistani commander named only Abdullah, a son of ageing hardline leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammad who is based in Bajaur and has close ties to Al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri. [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iGTgxqoTldD4lBtlbyfU5MSNowjg] [http://in.reuters.com/article/southAsiaNews/idINIndia-35671020080926]

On 27 September 2008, Pakistani troops killed at least 16 militants after coming under attack in a tribal region near the Afghan border. Militants attacked three military posts near Khar, the main town in the restive Bajaur tribal district but soldiers repulsed them with artillery and mortar fire. There were no reports of millitary casualties. [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gqbV97erFMfXlFjngT7SYUGUxHdQ] [http://www.dawn.com/2008/09/28/top4.htm]

On 3 October 2008, Pakistani troops, backed by artillery, killed 25 Taliban militants after militants attacked security checkposts in four villages in the restive region. Separately, the local government ordered Afghan refugees in Bajaur to leave the area within three days. In other violence, a suicide bomber blew himself up as he tried to storm the house of Asfandyar Wali Khan, head of the Awami National Party and who is also a member of Pakistan's ruling coalition in the western town of Charsadda, killing four people but missing the politician. [http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=230579&Sn=WORL&IssueID=31197] [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iQP3xOQVBIz1uiIMsTcCOVVAMNiA]

Intensified US. strikes

Since the end of August, the United States has stepped up its attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, following the change of the country's President. [ [http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-09-08-voa15.cfm Suspected US Missile Strike Hits Taliban Commander's House] - Voice of America, September 8, 2008 ] On September 3 a commando attack took place in a village near the Afghan border in South Waziristan, and there have been 3 strikes from unmanned drones in North Waziristan, culminating on the morning of 8 September 2008, when a United States Air Force drone aircraft fired a number of missiles at a madrassa (religious school). The airstrike, which unsuccessfully targeted Jalaluddin Haqqani, killed 23 people.Perlez, J. & Shah, P.Z. 2008, [http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/09/asia/09pstan.php 'US attack on Taliban kills 23 in Pakistan'] , "International Herald Tribune", 9 September. Retrieved on 10 September 2008.]

On 25 September 2008, following exchanges of gunfire between US and Pakistani forces on the frontier on Thursday, President Zardari told the United Nations that Pakistan would not tolerate violations of its sovereignty, even by its allies. The incident happened after two US military helicopters came under fire from the Pakistani side, a US military spokesman said, insisting that they had been about a mile and a half inside Afghanistan.

President Zardari told the United Nations, "Just as we will not let Pakistani's territory to be used by terrorists for attacks against our people and our neighbours, we cannot allow our territory and our sovereignty to be violated by our friends," he said, without citing the United States or the border flareup. [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iGTgxqoTldD4lBtlbyfU5MSNowjg]

Casualties

There has been no conclusive reports on the casualties of the war, though some authors, especially Pakistani writers, have estimated that the total casualties on both sides to be more than 1,000 by 2006. [ [http://pakobserver.net/200606/26/Articles02.asp?txt=Pacifying%20Waziristan Pacifying Waziristan by Muhammad Munir] ]

On September 13 2007, then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte noted during a visit to Islamabad that Pakistan lost 1,000 soldiers fighting the militants since joining the war on terrorism.http://uasos.com/world/fierce-fighting-in-waziristan-as-negroponte-visits-pakistan-reuters.html]

On November 14, 2007, senior Pakistan Army officials told at a news conference that a total of 28 suicide attacks killed some 600 Pakistani security men, in addition to 1,300 civilians in the period after the Lal Masjid siege. It also said that from 2001 till November 14, 2007, at least 966 military men were killed and 2,259 others were injured; 488 foreign extremists were killed, 24 others were arrested and 324 foreign extremists were injured [http://www.topnews.in/600-pakistan-security-men-killed-28-suicide-attacks-after-lal-masjid-operation-26116 600 Pakistan security men killed in 28 suicide attacks after Lal Masjid operation | Top News ] ]

Some have speculated that the unofficial number of Pakistani soldiers killed in action to be somewhere around 3,000 by the late 2006. [ [http://billroggio.com/archives/2006/09/the_fall_of_wazirist.php The Fall of Waziristan: An Online History] ] [ [http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/56510.aspx Waziristan: Terror Haven for Jihadists? by Erick Stakelbeck] November 15, 2006 CBN news] A Pakistan writer, Ayaz Amir states that the army's "Casualties were high, perhaps unsustainable, although we’ll never know the exact figures, the Pakistan army not given to embarrassing disclosures." [ [http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/20060915.htm War and peace, army style] - September 15, 2006 Dawn (newspaper)] . It should be noted however that Pakistani military provides substantial benefits to families of fallen soldiers [ [http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htlead/articles/20080422.aspx Year of the Soldier; Strategy Page] ] , and thus it is unlikely that higher end numbers are correct since it would be difficult to hide fatalities from families. Also Ayaz Amirs and Bill Roggio's claims are spurious to say the least; their assertion that Pakistan Army hides casualties is belied by the fact that the PR arm of the Pakistani military gives a daily update on the operations, complete with casualty figures; broken down by units. [ [http://www.ispr.gov.pk/Archive&Press/LatestUpdate/latestUpdate.htm Latest Update from Pakistan Military Webpage, contradicting the claims made by Ayaz Amir and Bill Roggio] ]

United States role

Pakistan received about $4 billion from the United States for the logistical support it provided for the counter-terrorism operations from 2002 to 2006, and for its own military operation mainly in Waziristan and other tribal areas along the Durand line, according to a report of the Asian Development Bank. The Bush administration also offered a $3 billion five-year aid package to Pakistan for becoming a frontline ally in its 'war on terror'. Annual instalments of $600 million each split evenly between military and economic aid, began in 2005.Cite web| url=http://www.adnki.com/index_2Level_English.php?cat=Security&loid=8.0.359974956&par=0 | title=Pakistan: $1 billion from U.S. to fight terror | publisher=Aki/Dawn |date=2006-11-14 | accessdate=2006-11-24]

In his autobiography, President Musharraf wrote that the United States had paid millions of dollars to the Pakistan government as bounty money for capturing al-Qaeda operators from tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. About 359 of them were handed over to the US for prosecution.

ee also

*Sectarian violence in Pakistan
*Islamic Emirate of Waziristan
*Taliban insurgency
*War on Terrorism
*List of wars 2003–current

References

External links

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3645114.stm Pakistan's undeclared war] by Zaffar Abbas, BBC News, Friday, 10 September, 2004
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4774762.stm Dozens killed in Pakistan clashes] , BBC News, Friday, 5 March, 2006
* [http://www.historyguy.com/waziristan_war.html A brief description of the Waziristan War which began in 2004 in Northwest Pakistan.] From the History Guy Website
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23012160/ U.S. Al-Qaida shifting to Pakistan]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7228864.stm Changing ways of Pakistan's militants]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/05/AR2008020502979.html Pakistan Is Threatened]


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