The Pakistani Army has halted military operations against the Taliban in the city of Darra Adam Khel in the Orakzai tribal agency, Geo TV reported. The military halted the offensive after a peace jirga, or committee, requested the suspension of operations.
The Taliban continue to attack the military regardless of the ceasefire. Heavy fighting has been reported at the Kohat Tunnel, where 25 Taliban fighters were reported killed. Taliban forces are attempting to damage the tunnel to prevent the military from using the roadway to resupply forces in Darra Adam Khel. The tunnel serves as the primary north-south artery, and connects Darra Adam Khel to Kohat.
Taliban forces also attacked Frontier Corps checkpoints south of Spina Thana. The military claims the Frontier Corps cleared the Taliban from pockets south of Spina Thana but the Taliban is using civilians as human shields.
Further east, the Taliban conducted attacks against government and civilian targets, in what appears to be an attempt to disrupt the military’s line of supply. Taliban fighters fired rockets and mortars in the city of Kohat. The Taliban fired at government offices and oil tankers. No casualties were reported. The Taliban also detonated a large roadside bomb on the Indus Highway just outside Peshawar, the provincial capital.
Fighting in Darra Adam Khel started on Jan. 25 after the Taliban hijacked a military convoy carrying supplies and ammunition destined for Pakistani troops in North Waziristan. The Pakistani military launched the assault after two peace jirgas, or councils, were formed in an attempt to get the Taliban to surrender the trucks and supplies. The jirgas failed.
The Pakistani military is now fighting three concurrent operations in the Northwest Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies. The military launched an operation against Mullah Fazullah’s Taliban in the settled district of Swat in November 2007. The Swat operation is still underway, with more than half of the district yet to be cleared. The military kicked of an operation in South Waziristan on Jan. 24 after the Taliban overran two military outposts. The Taliban openly control several tribal agencies and maintain a strong presence throughout the Northwest Frontier Province.
See The Fall of the Northwest Frontier Province for the full history of the rise of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal regions and beyond.
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