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Full Name: Shoaib Habib Memon
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Operation Zarb-e-Azb in Pakistan


Forwarded by Shoaib Habib Memon




Operation Zarb-e-Azb is a joint-military offensive operation involving the Islamic Republic of Pakistan against armed insurgent groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), al-Qaeda, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Afghan militant factions such as the Haqqani network. The operation was launched by the Pakistan Armed Forces on 15 June 2014 in North Waziristan, a part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border, as a renewed effort against militancy in the wake of the 8 June attack on Karachi's airport, claimed by TTP and IMU. Up to 30,000 soldiers are involved in the operation. It has been described as a "comprehensive operation" that aims to flush out foreign and local militants hiding in North Waziristan. It is part of the ongoing war in North-West Pakistan


Pakistan, an Islamic republic, seized the Islamic narrative from the insurgents, a fatwa (religious edict) was declared by Pakistan's clergy which endorsed the militaries operation, and condemned the insurgents as terrorists. And declared the operation against the insurgents, a Jihad.




The peace-negotiations with Taliban were announced by the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as he came to power after the elections.Previous attempts to engage the Taliban in a dialogue process had failed. The first session of the talks was held on 26 March 2014, at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, Islamabad.These talks were held by the committees appointed by the Government of Pakistan and Taliban. The Taliban did not name representatives from within their own ranks and instead nominated pro-Taliban religious figures to represent their views.The Taliban called for the implementation of Sharia law in Pakistan, whereas the Pakistani government demanded hostilities to be ceased, and insisted that the talks should be held within the framework of the Constitution of Pakistan.A month-long ceasefire was reached between the government and Taliban on 1 March 2014.


The talks involved travelling of the government representatives to the area near the Afghan border by helicopter, and meetings also took place at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House. The government had indicated that stronger military action will be used if negotiations fail.


Peace-negotiations failure


The peace-negotiations collapsed after the execution of 23 Pakistani Frontier Corps soldiers by the Taliban on 17 February 2014. The soldiers had been held by the insurgents since 2010. On 17 April 2014, the TTP formally ended the ceasefire. More than 90 militants were killed in Taliban infighting since March 2014. The infighting resulted from the differences between the Mehsud group led by Sheheryar Mehsud and another TTP faction led by Khan Said Sajna, thus impeding the peace-talks. The peace-talks suffered a death blow due to the terrorist attack on Karachi Airport, with the Taliban claiming responsibility for the brazen attack that led to the killing of 26 people and security personnel.


A Pakistani security official was quoted to have said: "the army is ready for an operation. It now all depends on the government to make a decision.


Jinnah Airport attack



The operation started exactly a week after the terrorist attack on Pakistan's busiest airport. On 8 June 2014, 10 militants of TTP and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 36 people, including all 10 attackers, and wounding at least 18 persons.


Following the attack, the Pakistani military launched a series of aerial strikes on militant hideouts in the tribal areas along the Afghan border. At least 25 militants were killed on 10 June, including foreign fighters. Two drone attacks on 12 June also killed Uzbek, Afghan and some local militants. On 15 June, the Pakistani military intensified air strikes in North Waziristan, and bombed eight foreign militant hideouts killing up to 150 insurgents, a majority of whom were Uzbeks, including those linked to the airport attack and a key Uzbek commander and mastermind of the airport attack, Abu Abdur Rehman Almani.The intensified aerial strikes were conducted in the wake of the attack, and were an extension of a campaign of military operations against militants being conducted since the past few months


The Pakistani military had prepared for the operation since long before, whereas the Pakistani government prepared for the implications of the operation on three fronts.This included the separation of the target militant groups, to get support from the political parties and to save the civilians from the backlash of the operation.


Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the nation stands by its army. "The decision was taken after the strategy of dialogue failed. The operation will continue until it reaches its logical conclusion. Any group that challenges Pakistan's constitution, attacks civilians, soldiers, and government installations and uses Pakistani territory to plan terrorist attacks will be targeted," he said. He added that IDPs will be facilitated by the federal as well as KP governments. "We will try to ensure that the displaced do not have to stay away from their homes for too long.


The army troops encircled militant bases in the towns of Mirali and Miranshah. Afghan security forces have been asked to seal the border on their side, officials said.The operation is said to involve the PAF, artillery, tanks and ground troops. "On the directions of the government, armed forces of Pakistan have launched a comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists who are hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan," a military statement said.


A military official said that between 14,000 and 20,000 soldiers were normally stationed in North Waziristan before the operation. He expected the offensive would require no more than 30,000 soldiers altogether.




15 June-The Pakistani military intensified air strikes in North Waziristan, and destroyed eight militant hideouts in the previous night airstrikes. Militant hideouts in Degan-Boya, Datta Khel in North Waziristan were targeted by jet aircraft. There were confirmed reports of presence of foreign and local insurgents in these hideouts who were linked in planning of Karachi airport attack. An ammunition dump was also destroyed. Reportedly, up to 140 militants, mostly Uzbek, were killed in the strikes, including a key Uzbek commander and mastermind of the airport attack, Abu Abdur Rehman Almani.

North Waziristan Agency was isolated by deploying troops along its border with neighboring agencies and FATA Regions to block any move of militants in and out of the Agency. Within the Agency, troops moved and cordoned off all insurgents bases, including in the town of Mirali and Miranshah.

Necessary logistics and administrative arrangements for IDPs have been made by political administration and Disaster Management Agency. Registration points and IDP camps were established.

Surrender points were also made for those militants who chose to quit violence and give up their arms.

Aerial surveillance of the area was being carried out. Afghan security forces were requested to seal the border on their side to facilitate elimination of militants who attempt to escape across the border. They were also requested to initiate immediate measures to eliminate TTP militants and their hideouts in Kunar, Nuristan and other areas of Afghanistan.


16 June Six militant hideouts in Shawal, North Waziristan Agency were destroyed by jet aircraft. In these airstrikes 27 militants were also killed. There was no civil population in Shawal. According to reports, two fighter jets launched airstrikes against militant hideouts in Shawal District of North Waziristan on early morning.


ISPR said that six soldiers have been killed and three injured due to an Improvised explosive device (IED) explosion between the Afghan border and Ghulam Khan Tehsil in North Wazirstan Agency. They added that a security forces convoy was targeted on Bane Dar road in Ghulam Khan Tehsil on the Pak-Afghan border. Forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.

In a sniper action by Special Services Group, 3 insurgents were killed, while laying IEDs close to Miranshah.


7 fleeing militants were killed on the outskirts of Mirali last night. 3 soldiers were injured in the exchange of fire.

In a separate fire exchange, seven more militants were killed. The fire exchange took place when the militants tried to flee from the cordoned off area on 16 June. Two Pakistani soldiers were also reported as being killed in the fire exchange.


17 June-Air strikes destroyed six militant hideouts in parts of North Waziristan killing 25 foreign and local militants. Air strikes were conducted around Hasokhel area of Mir Ali.

At least three suspected militants were killed when they attempted to flee a cordoned off area in Miranshah, raising the total insurgent death toll to 215. One soldier was also injured in the exchange of fire.


No operation in built up areas had been started so far to ensure following:-


No militant can escape the cordon.

All civilians are safely evacuated after their detailed verification.

More than 40 percent of area in North Waziristan was cleared from militants in the first three days of the operation.


19 June-It was reported that 15 militants were killed in Zartatangi mountain heights, east of Miranshah by Army Cobra helicopter gunships the previous night. Zartatangi mountain heights served as one of the main communication centers of the insurgents.


In a separate sniper action, 8 Uzbek militants were killed around Miranshah while planting Improvised explosive devices on the road between Miranshah and Mirali.

Evacuation of civilian population from Miranshah and Ghulam Khan was started. Checkpoints were established at various places where IDPs were provided all administrative support inclusive of food items and medicine by security forces.


Up to 400 Afghan families left North Waziristan Agency for Afghanistan through Ghulam Khan Border village. They were provided all required administrative assistance.


20 June-Three militant hideouts in area Qutab Khel, on the outskirts of Miranshah were destroyed early morning by Army Cobra helicopter gunships. The action involved integration of cobra gunships, artillery and snipers. 12 militants including foreigners were killed in the strikes. Large cache of arms and ammunition was also destroyed.


Militants inside cordoned off areas made attempts to flee. 6 attempts were foiled the previous night. 3 locals without identity proof were arrested while trying to flee from the cordon.

Another 24 suspects trying to flee in the clothing of IDPs were arrested at various strangulation check posts in Mirali and Miranshah.


An organized evacuation of IDPs continued from the agency towards Bannu. 200,000 persons had been evacuated from the area so far.


21 June-30 militants in total were killed in targeted airstrikes in uninhabited areas of Khyber and North Waziristan Agencies early morning. According to details, Jet aircraft destroyed two hideouts close to Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Khyber agency killing 10 militants. 3 militant hideouts were destroyed in Hassu Khel in North Waziristan Agency killing 20 militants.


23 June-8 militant hideouts around Mir Ali were destroyed by jet aircraft early morning, killing 15 militants. Tunnels were spotted in the targeted areas.


10 militants were killed while trying to flee from their cordoned off bases in Spinwam and Mir Ali. 2 Pakistani soldiers were also reported to have been killed in exchange of fire.

Curfew was relaxed for two hours to facilitate evacuation of left over locals. 41,4429 IDPs had been registered so far at Saidgai check post.

A field medical hospital by Army medical corps was being established at Bannu to provide medical relief to the displaced people.




Domestic Social media-The decision of the Pakistani military to launch a comprehensive operation was widely supported. Journalists, opinion makers, politicians and other local social media users commended the operation.


Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf[edit]PTI's chairman Imran Khan endorsed the military operation under-way in North Waziristan. A week before, reiterating his party’s stance on peace talks with militants, Imran had said that an offensive in North Waziristan would unite militant forces against the Pakistani state. "Conducting such a military operation when most of the groups in NWA want talks is suicidal," Imran said in a statement, adding that most groups in North Waziristan desire peace talks with the government.


Jamat-e-Islami One of the leading religious party in Pakistan, Jamat-e-Islami, continued to oppose any kind of operation in North Waziristan. The Emir of JI, Siraj-ul-Haq urged government not to withdraw the option of negotiations with Taliban. He warned that any kind of military operation in North Waziristan would result in a massive human tragedy, saying that it was the duty of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take the nation and its leadership into confidence inside and outside the Parliament before taking such a vital decision regarding the national security.


Muttahida Qaumi Movement Muttahida Qaumi Movement's senator Babar Khan Ghauri said, "This is a commendable decision by the government. We have been repeatedly telling the current government that instead of engaging the terrorists in dialogue, government should act against these elements. Karachi has a number of terrorists and it might suffer from a blow back; this should be tackled so Karachi does not have to suffer on account of this."


The MQM head Altaf Hussain welcomed the launch of operation. "I welcome this operation and I am glad that government is supporting the armed forces, those who have not backed the operation must realize that it is a matter of national security. I appeal to them to come on same page by setting aside their political compulsions." he said.


Awami National Party-Awami National Party member Zahid Khan said, "We also held a dialogue previously (during our govt) but that did not produce effective results. We wanted peace and we were okay if that came through dialogue but unfortunately that could not happen. This time, knowing from our experience, we had cautioned the government that dialogue approach would not work. Government should have taken the parliament into confidence before launching the operation but it didn't."


Local tribesmen-Tribal elders of North Waziristan assured their support to Operation Zarb-e-Azb, according to a statement released by Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa. "Many tribal elders from around Miranshah, Mir Ali, Datta Khel assure support to army operation," Bajwa tweeted. "he tribesmen have assured the army that they would not let the militant to return to the area," he added.


Sunni Ulema Board-On 22 June 2014, more than 100 Islamic scholars jointly issued a fatwa in support of the operation and declared it as Jihad by quoting a verse from the Quran as "Crushing of the attempts to disrupt peaceful atmosphere in a Muslim state is jihad".


International-United States The US supported the military operation against the Taliban militants, spokesman of the US Embassy in Pakistan said here on 16 June. The Spokesman said the US supports every step of Pakistan taken for the establishment of peace.


The United States had pressured Pakistan for a military operation in North Waziristan for years. The US Congress linked military assistance to Pakistan in the next fiscal year with military operations in North Waziristan in June 2014.


Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said that the Pentagon wasn't aware of Pakistan's decision to launch a new offensive in N. Waziristan. "The Pakistan military and the government understand the threat, and they continue to go after that threat," he added.


Afghanistan-Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan Janan Mosazai said that his government would give "every possible assistance" to defeat the militants in the operation.



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