View Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan in a larger map
As noted at The Long War Journal in yesterday’s initial report on the Pakistani military operation in North Waziristan, called “Zarb-e-Azb,” it appears that the military is focused exclusively on foreign fighters from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Turkistan Islamic Party, as well as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
The Inter-Services Public Relations, the public affairs arm of the Pakistani military, noted today in a press release that “most of those killed [in yesterday’s operation] are Uzbeks.”
“Many ETIM [Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party] terrorists and their affiliates have also been killed in the strikes. It was a massive blow to the terrorists and one of their main communication centre has been dismantled,” the ISPR statement continued.
The military also said it targeted six “hardcore Terrorists hideouts in Shawal, North Waziristan” and killed 27 “terrorists.” Eleven Pakistani soldiers were also killed in the fighting over the past 24 hours.
The military has claimed it conducted operations in Shawal, Boya, Ghulam Khan, and Datta Khel, and has cordoned the towns of Mir Ali and Miramshah. These are some of the same towns where has the US frequently targeted top al Qaeda, IMU, and other jihadist groups in drone strikes in the past.
None of the military’s statements released so far name the Haqqani Network or Hafiz Gul Bahadar’s Taliban groups as targets of the operations.
Unless the Pakistanis take on Bahadar and the Haqqanis, the operation is merely Pakistan’s version of whack-a-mole. Without removing the support base that these two so-called “good Taliban” groups provide for al Qaeda, the IMU, TIP, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and a host of terror groups operating in North Waziristan, the Pakistani government is addressing only a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself.