Pakistani military claims 910 'terrorists,' 82 soldiers killed in North Waziristan operation
The Pakistani military claimed that 910 "terrorists" and 82 soldiers have been killed since it launched an operation against the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and allied jihadist groups in North Waziristan in mid-June. Dismissing the military's claims as "complete lies," a Taliban splinter group denied that hundreds of jihadists had been killed and said training camps and bomb factories were moved before the operation was launched.
The Pakistani military's Inter-Services Public Relations branch issued a press release today claiming that "[s]ince start of the operation 910 x [times] Terrorists have been killed," and another "114 hardcore terrorists" were detained.
The military also said that "82 x soldiers have embraced Shahadat [martydom] in entire country while fighting against terrorism while 269 x are injured." Forty-two of the soldiers were killed in North Waziristan, 23 in other tribal areas, and 17 more "in remaining parts of the country including Balochistan and Karachi."
Additionally, the military said that it "cleared [the] major towns of Miramshah, Mir Ali, Datta Khel, Boya, and Degan, which were considered strong holds of terrorists." The military claimed further that "[a]s many as 27 x IEDs Factories, 1x Rocket and 1 x Ammunition factory have been recovered and destroyed."
The towns of Miramshah, Mir Ali, Datta Khel, Boya, and Degan have all been heavily targeted in the US' drone campaign over the years. These towns have served as bases for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, the Hafiz Bahadar Group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Turkistan Islamic Party. Top al Qaeda and allied jihadist leaders and operatives have been killed in drone strikes in these areas.
The US has carried out five drone strikes since the Pakistani military operation known as Zarb-e-Azb, or the Sword of Allah, was launched on June 15. The US is thought to have killed six al Qaeda leaders and operatives in a drone strike in Datta Khel on July 10. Sanafi al Nasr, a senior al Qaeda leader based in Syria, identified three of those killed as Taj al Makki, Abu Abdurahman al Kuwaiti, and Fayez Awda al Khalidi. [See LWJ report, 6 al Qaeda operatives thought killed in recent drone strike in Pakistan.]
Jihadists deny Pakistani military claims of success
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan that includes Taliban factions from the tribal agencies of Mohmand, Bajaur, Khyber, and Arakzai, and from the districts of Charsadda, Peshawar, and Swat, disputed the Pakistani military's claims of success. In a statement sent today to The Long War Journal by Ihsanullah Ihsan, the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar's spokesman, the group described the military press release and subsequent reporting in the Pakistani media as "nothing but complete lies."
"Fact is that in this war only 25 to 30 of our companions have embraced martyrdom; on the other hand during bombardment more than 5 dozen civilians have embraced martyrdom," Jamaat-ul-Ahrar's spokesman said. Additionally, he claimed that jihadists left the area long before the operation.
"It is worth mentioning that before the operation started Mujahideen had already shifted their bomb factories and training centers into safe places," the statement continued.
Neither the Pakistani military's claims nor Jamaat-ul-Ahrar's refutation can be confirmed. The Pakistani military does not allow independent reporting from North Waziristan. And jihadists often intimidate reporters in the region.
But the Pakistani military has not admitted to causing a single civilian casualty in the operation. And despite claiming that it is targeting the Haqqani Network and other so-called "good Taliban," or those jihadists who do not openly fight the Pakistani state, the military has not named a single Haqqani Network or Hafiz Gul Bahadar leader, commander, or fighter killed or captured during the operation.
The military has identified only one "terrorist" killed during the operation -- a local Taliban leader in Miramshah known as Commander Umer. The military also claimed it captured an al Qaeda explosives expert but has not named him.
For more information on Pakistan's recent military operation in North Waziristan and "good Taliban" vs. "bad Taliban", see LWJ and Threat Matrix reports:
- Pakistan launches 'comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists' in North Waziristan
- Pakistani forces focus on 'foreigners' in North Waziristan operation
- Pakistani military claims 257 'terrorists,' no civilians killed in North Waziristan offensive
- Pakistani Army continues to boast of zero civilian casualties in North Waziristan operation
- Pakistani military kills local Taliban leader, captures al Qaeda bomb expert
- Pakistani military says 'ground operation' in North Waziristan has begun