Pakistani military, Taliban clash in North Waziristan after suicide attack


The Pakistani military claimed it killed 23 "militants" in the town of Mir Ali in the Taliban controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, two days after a suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint there. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and the Ansar al Aseer denied that their fighters were killed, and claimed the Pakistani military carried out a "massacre" of civilians in reprisal for the suicide attack.

The fighting began after a suicide bomber killed five soldiers and wounded 34 more at a checkpoint in the Mir Ali area on Dec. 17. The Pakistani military said the soldiers were praying at a mosque when the suicide bomber rammed a truck packed with explosives into the checkpoint.

The Ansar al Aseer Khorasan, or Helpers of the Prisoners, a group that includes members from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Taliban and was founded to free jihadists from Pakistani prisons, claimed credit for the attack in a statement emailed to The Long War Journal

"A Fidai [fedayeen] (also term by western media suicide bomber) struck his explosive laden truck with Khajoree check post of Pakistan army, killing almost every one there or injured, and vanishing the post completely, [sic]" the statement said.

Two days after the suicide attack, the Pakistani military claimed it killed "23 militants" after an army convoy was ambushed on Dec. 18 while evacuating casualties from the suicide attack. The military, in a statement released on its public affairs website, said it killed "10 more terrorists, reportedly most of them were Uzbek," during a follow-up raid on an IED factory in the Mir Ali area on Dec. 19.

Ansar al Aseer denied that fighters were killed, and instead claimed that "the Army camp in Mir Ali started shelling the local innocent population of villages nearby," while "fleet of Gunship helicopters" were "used to shell local villagers, resulting in heavy causalities of men, women and children." Ansar al Aseer also claimed that Pakistani soldiers executed a group of truck drivers in the village of Eppi in the Mir Ali area.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan also sent photos to The Long War Journal purporting to show destruction of the bazaar and other areas in Mir Ali and nearby villages. The claims made by Ansar al Aseer and the validity of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan's photographs cannot be confirmed. Residents in the area have also claimed that the Pakistani military killed civilians, according to Pakistani press reports.

The Pakistani military has indiscriminately used force during military operations in the past, and has summarily executed individuals suspected of belonging to the Taliban. Civilians in Swat and Bajaur accused the military of conducting scorched earth tactics during operations, while soldiers in Swat were caught on video killing suspected Taliban fighters.

This week's clashes in North Waziristan occurred less than one week after another jihadist group that operates in North Waziristan, the Ansarul Mujahideen, killed four Pakistani soldiers in an IED attack in the village Spinwam.

For years, the Pakistani military has promised the West that it would launch an offensive in North Waziristan to clear the tribal agency of the Taliban and al Qaeda, however it has failed to do so. Groups such as the Haqqani Network and Hafiz Gul Bahadar's Taliban faction, operate in North Waziristan, and are considered "good Taliban" by Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment as they do not openly support jihad against the state. But the Haqqanis and Bahadar fight in Afghanistan, and shelter and support al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and a host of terror groups that attack the Pakistani state and promote international jihad.



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READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani military, Taliban clash in North Waziristan after suicide attack"

Posted by Eddied at December 22, 2013 3:58 PM ET:

Glad to see the Pakistani military taking the initiative to move against these terrorists...they will only understand one type of lesson so it is good that the military lets them know that they will be handled aggressively...there is no reason to be attacking the Pakistan military and they should be punished severely for this attempt...

Posted by jayc at December 22, 2013 10:09 PM ET:

"The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan also sent photos to The Long War Journal."

OK, Bill, how about a Kodak moment?

Posted by PAm at December 22, 2013 11:23 PM ET:

Bill,

An interesting perspective:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1075596/walking-with-warriors-dispatches-from-waziristan

Posted by Luca at December 23, 2013 3:40 AM ET:

It seems PAKMILS's good old alliance with the constellation of groups in NWA is going south. This was TTP et al. but lately not even the haqqanis go scot free. Are the generals, ALBEIT BELATEDLY, changing course?

Posted by blert at December 23, 2013 9:00 AM ET:

The Pakistani Army would appear to be engaging in collective punishment against exactly those clans supporting the fanatics.

Indeed, scatter-shot 'retribution' seems to be the cultural norm in that part of the world.

In complete contravention of the Geneva laws of war, the opponents target the vulnerable, the non-combatants, first. I strongly suspect this is because they lack any technical means to even find the perpetrators -- but have a pretty good idea with whom the perps have blood ties.

This ambit best explains why drone hits against blood-thirsty, top ranking, fanatics motivate their crews to attack un-associated third parties -- even VBIED detonations against muslims up in Peshawar, and such.

In such an extreme case, I would posit that it's a true terror attack. From the outset, such a scheme was to victimize entire segments of the population, so as to drive politics nationally.

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It should be obvious by this time that Islamabad does not know how to dis-mount this particular tiger. Having made an open ended commitment to an 'international protection racket' -- their role in the War on Terror (aka WWIV) -- the players are looking straight at the end of the game. (Money's end!)

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Karzai has long been notified that his bluff with America will surely be called. The negotiations with Kabul are strikingly similar to those the Obama administration conducted with Baghdad: rigid.

The President is on the record: he wants out in twelve months. It would suit his purposes well to have Karzai blamed, entirely, for the departure of the last ISAF trooper. Indeed, it's hard to see how the President could ever leave until Kabul pulls that ripcord. This denouement should have been foreseen by Karzai.

(As to exactly why Karzai -- suddenly, unexpectedly, has delayed his signature -- we're all on the outside -- ignorant of the hidden gambits and schemes of the players.

It's as old as politics for one party to get the other to take the onus for a decision that the first party wants in their heart. With Karzai we have a player that scarcely anyone can figure out. Many an insider would swear that he uses his nations organic exports. Further, it's also obvious that we can't stop Karzai from leaking intel to the opfor. [The fool thinks that he can 'triangulate' with the biggest liars on the planet.] This latter failing is probably the real deal breaker. Naturally, no such reality can ever be officially acknowledged.)

From Washington, such a departure has as many pluses as minuses. Just on a dollars and blood basis, it looks pretty solid. The damages, the negatives, would occur AFTER the President has left office.

Iraq is an exemplar in this regard. The entire flow of events has gone backwards since 2011. The President has not been stigmatized at all -- by the MSM..

In the case at hand, Pakistan and Afghanistan, they figure to walk the same road in the immediate years ahead.

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Against that, without the American bankroll, it's hard to see how Islamabad can keep their gambit afloat. By now, it must be obvious that the West has been financing both sides of the conflict.

In the out-years, it would be easy to imagine a hiatus on all Pakistani connections to the West: starting with air travel. As it stands, such connections are of primary benefit to the fanatics. They don't benefit the West -- especially America and Britain -- at all.

The mindless importation of poverty, cultural alienation, and feral terror is rejected elsewhere, and without negative result.

One might suspect that ALL of the parties involved would benefit by seeing a lot less of each other.

Pakistan can't stand Western culture -- something made obvious in all of their dominant publications.

Indeed, it's a common complaint across the planet: local culture is being swamped by Hollywood -- and America. This is something that Americans, being Americans, just can't appreciate. Hollywood themes of 'diversity' make most cultures gag. Hollywood is the far-outlier in that regard. It's message doesn't even travel that well inside America.

At bottom, diversity-culture imputes the notion that all humans are, more or less, the same -- and that all cultures have equal value. Most of the planet violently rejects that belief. Jihadis top the list of such rejectors. It's hard to escape the fact that we're engaged in a philosophical-religious war: something that the fanatics have been proclaiming to the rooftops from day one. The Western MSM says such is not so.