Full-scale FATA military operation sought

Bin Laden’s death has shattered militancy, analysts say

By Ashfaq Yusufzai

2011-05-16

PESHAWAR – After the May 13 suicide attack in Shabqadar, Charsadda District, analysts and ministers have started calling for a full-scale military operation against the militants.

The attack killed 80 people – mostly Frontier Constabulary recruits – and injured more than 100.

“We have long been demanding ... a massive crackdown against militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where the attacks are planned,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour said.

FATA lies between KP and Afghanistan and is directly administered by the federal government. KP, which borders FATA, has suffered bombings and suicide attacks since 2005 and is looking to Islamabad to purge the militants.

“We don’t have jurisdiction in FATA,” Bilour told Central Asia Online. “It is up to the federal government to start action against militants based there.

All groups of militants orchestrated terror plans in FATA and destroyed peace not only in KP, but in the entire country.”

Brig. (ret.) Mehmood Shah, a former secretary of security in FATA, agreed.

Bin Laden’s death a blow to terrorist morale

“I think Osama (bin Laden)’s death has sent a chill down the spines of the militants,” he said. “They can carry out more devastating attacks, like they did in Shabqadar May 13, because they are like a wounded tiger and their response could be far more dangerous if they are not stopped.”

The May 2 death of the world’s top terrorist has demoralised the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to such an extent that a full-fledged military offensive could be the last nail in its coffin, Shah said.

Senior defence analyst Brig. (ret.) Masood Khan agreed that a military operation would destroy the terrorists. “An operation in FATA is a hard decision because it would require displacement of 3m (people), but the long-term benefits are matchless,” he said.

FATA-wide offensive recommended

Militants have traditionally retreated to adjacent agencies during military crackdowns, but a FATA-wide army operation would give them nowhere to run and would force them to concede defeat, said Kashif, a resident of Madakhel in North Waziristan.

Muhammad Javid, secretary of the Waziristan Students Federation, said his group would urge the public to prepare for displacement if the military begins an aggressive campaign in FATA.

“We can tell our people that it (the operation) is an effort to eliminate the Taliban, who have made their lives worse,” Javid said. “People are sick of militancy, and they would definitely co-operate.”

“We suggest an operation on the pattern of Malakand Division, where the Taliban had broken all previous records of terrorism between 2007 and 2008,” KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told Central Asia Online. “Now there is complete peace (there).”

Pakistani Army offensives in South Waziristan, Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber and Orakzai agencies have enjoyed some success but have failed to completely eradicate militancy in any FATA area.

“A Malakand-style operation will kill militants or at least force them to run away or quit the militancy and surrender,” Iftikhar said. “The government should shift the population from FATA to KP for a couple of months before a large military action.”

“An operation on Malakand’s pattern is the last option to eliminate terrorists once and for all,” Kashif Alam, an economics student at the University of Peshawar, agreed.

The population, he said, would welcome such a move if it had assurances that the military was conducting a full-fledged operation to bring about sustainable peace.

“Militants kill innocent people because they are paid to do so,” Iftikhar said. “It is obvious to everyone that the Taliban are mercenaries of those who want to terrorise the people.”

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Reader Comments

  • Operation is not the solution. We must negotiate with them and behave like civilised nation. If they demand local autonomy we must respect this right. Bloodshed for power and lust forsubduing free thinking minds is not justified. If some of the people chose to have nudity, homosexuality, denial of divinity, idolworship and greedy capitalist economy, we accept their right and let them practice as well as propagate their ideologies. So why not let them live as they like? I am sure they will not come out to bother any one if left alone. It was us who interfered with them while they were at peace with the world. The santity of human blood is muac more than sanctity of government\'s writ.

    May 19, 2011 @ 09:05:00AM livegentle
  • Federal government should ignore the pressure of private media in pakistan which is controlled by Al-qaida & supported by pakistani judges & armed forces and start immediate operation in FATA. Kurram Agency, Orakzai & North waziriatan are the the main Head-quarters of Taliban, proted by MNA Munir Orakzai. iN these Tribal Agencies Poppy cultivation is progress & government officials & Religious scholers are getting full shares from Taliban so they protect all taliban in these areas and recognize taliban war as a holy war (jihad) which is totally against the teachings of Islam. America should take serious action against those supporters of taliban who openly shows sympathy with on Media of pakistan & arrange rallies against anti-taliban activitist.

    May 16, 2011 @ 09:05:00PM jabbar