Pakistan launches operation in Swat

Red agencies/ districts controlled by the Taliban; purple is defacto control; yellow is under threat.

One day after the Taliban launched a devastating suicide attack that killed over 30 paramilitary policemen in Swat, the Pakistani military launched an offensive. The Pakistani military targeted the religious seminary run by Maulana Qazi Fazlullah, the leader of the local Taliban. He is said to have gone into hiding just prior to the beginning of the offensive.

“Paramilitary troopers, after Friday noon prayers, raided a seminary of local militants’ commander Maulana Fazlullah at Imamdehri village,” the Kuwaiti News Agency reported. “A fierce gunbattle erupted between the supporters of Maulana and troopers when they tried to enter into the seminary. … [T]he two sides were still exchanging heavy fire, … troops fired mortar shells as well.”

The Pakistani military is said to be employing helicopter gunships and is believed to have taken over the Taliban training camp next to Fazlullah’s madrassa.

Fazlullah is one of the more radical and eccentric Taliban leaders in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. Known as Mullah FM, he preaches jihad and calls for the imposition of sharia law on his illegally run radio station. He campaigns against girls’ schools and polio vaccinations. Fazlullah also conducts campaigns where he organizes the burning of television sets, digital and video cameras, computers, and other electronics as they are a “source of sin.”

The 28-year-old radical cleric is leader of the local al Qaeda-linked and outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM – the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law), which is also referred to as “the Pakistani Taliban.” The TNSM sent over 10,000 of its fighters into Afghanistan to fight US forces in 2001 before the fall of the Taliban.

In nearby Bajaur, the local Taliban destroyed five military checkpoints. “Meanwhile, commander of the local militants, Waliur Rehman, has warned that they would punish anyone doing illegal activities in the name of the militants,” The Daily Times reported. “Our main objective is to promote Islam and the imposition of Shariah,” Rehman said.

Bajaur is run by TNSM’s Faqir Mohammed, who has close connections to al Qaeda’s Ayman al Zawahiri. Bajaur is an al Qaeda command and control node. The Pakistani government negotiated with Faqir and the TNSM in the spring of 2007, and the cut a “peace deal” that turned the province over to he terrorists.

The Pakistani military has repeatedly launched offensives in the tribal agencies and settled districts of Swat, Tank, and North and South Waziristan, only to halt after taking heavy casualties and conduct negotiations with the Taliban.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • Marlin says:

    It would appear the fighting is continuing on Sunday in Swat, although it does not seem to be widely reported.
    Army gunship helicopters have continued to raid villages in northwest Pakistan where fighters loyal to a Muslim cleric continue to battle paramilitary troops, officials have said.
    The opposition fighters are hiding in Swat valley, where Maulana Fazlullah, who has campaigned to introduce laws supportive of the resurgent Taliban, is based.
    “The NWFP (North West Frontier Province) has army helicopters at its command and they use these whenever there is a need,” Major General Waheed Arshad, a senior military spokesman, said on Sunday.
    Ten opposition fighters were killed on Sunday in the Manglore and Kot areas of Swat on Sunday, the military’s public relations department said in a statement.
    Sohail Rahman, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Swat valley, said the military had set up outposts across the region and imposed a cordon around major roads in the valley to prevent Fazlullah’s supporters from escaping.
    Security forces have entered Manglor village, 10km northeast of Mingora, the main town in Swat, forcing opposition fighters to leave their hideouts, Waheed said.
    “They are operating to establish the writ of the government in areas where miscreants have threatened public peace and order. The security forces have extended their positions,” he said.
    Pakistan army pounds fighters

  • Winger says:

    And at the same time, they are pursuing a peace agreement. The miscreants will agree to the cease fire and then continue to build themselves up and kill soldiers, civilians, and anybody who dares to dispute their lorded status.
    They claim now they are are only reacting to the Laj Majid attack earlier. Love it when people create a problem and then blame the reaction to that problem as the reason for them now causing problems. They are so warped.
    I guess it is really easy to convince yourself that reality is what you make it. Even in depth analysis will leave you convinced you are the right side of the issue. After all, you are doing what the Koran tells you to do, religious leaders like you for it, your fellow gun toting peers like you for it, and you have the apparent approval of 80-90% of local society. People who don’t agree are brutally killed and so are few in number. Life is good if you are a man, and if you are a women, it doesn’t matter what you think.
    I see where some Pakistani clerics have written leaflets to be dropped there that state that the militants are stirring up false jihad. They re asking the militants to leave, the local people to join with the government. and the area to live in peace.
    This is good as the religious scholars really have to step up and dispute the rulings of the self appointed Osamas and Maulauna’s of the area. If the Muslims religious authorities would step up and denounce the false jihadis, then we could see some improvement. This would give locals the cover they need to side with peace instead of Allah AK47.

  • Khalid Masood says:

    Long Live Pakistan Army
    Please flush out all those Uzbuks, Tajiks and Arabs who are present in Pakistan and bringing bad name for Islam.
    Islam is peace and it is not terrorism


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram