Pakistani Army launches offensive in South Waziristan

A sketch map of North and South Waziristan. Blue arrows are Pakistani army movements. Map from The Khyber Gateway. Click to view.

After nearly two weeks of conventional assaults by the Taliban against Pakistani military outposts and convoys, the military has launched an offensive in South Waziristan. The Army has moved over 600 soldiers, backed by tanks and helicopter gunships into the northern region of South Waziristan. The target is Baitullah Mehsud and his Taliban forces.

The military launched its offensive from three axes, The Nation reported. The Army attacked Makeen from Ramzak in North Waziristan, Ladha from Wana in the south, and Spinkai Raghzai from Jandola in the southeast. The Taliban are still in possession of the Sararogha Fort, which they captured Jan. 16 in a massed assault. Pakistani troops have been reported to be launching attacks on Taliban positions in the mountains. Heavy fighting has been reported at Jandola, and three tanks reportedly have been deployed for convoy protection.

Three battles have been fought at the Ladha Fort and the Taliban overran the Saklatoi Fort on Jan. 17. The Taliban abandoned the Saklatoi outpost after the military conducted a commando raid the next day.

The fighting has been reported to be fierce. “Both sides are using heavy weapons against each other at Jandola, Chaghmalai, and Spinkai-Raghzai areas of the region,” according to The Nation. The military is deploying tanks and artillery while the Taliban is using mortars, rockets, and heavy machine guns.

Pakistani soldiers man a machine gun in North Waziristan. Click to view.

The military claimed 32 Taliban have been killed in the assault, and stated eight of its soldiers were killed and 32 wounded. The military claimed 40 Taliban were also captured.

Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar disputed the government’s claims of heavy Taliban casualties. “Omar while confirming the advancement of the armed forces from three different sides claimed that Taliban had repulsed the military action with an iron hand in Spinkai Raghzai area,” The Nation reported. “He said that he was unable to give the exact figures of the casualties but a large number of security personnel had been wounded and killed.”

The Taliban have attempted to blunt the assault from the north by conducting a rocket and mortar barrage on the military outpost in Ramzak. An estimated 50 to 70 rockets and mortars were launched at the Ramzak base over a four-hour period. One soldier was killed and two wounded.

Compiled from reports from The Nation, Geo TV, and Aaj TV.

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.

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

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3 Comments

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Brian,
    I would kill for a decent map of the tribal areas. I’ve searched, and searched… That sketch is the best I could find. Google Earth maps leave a lot to be desired (the shadings, impossible to mark towns well, etc.) so I’ve given up there. And as far as the naming conventions…. don’t get me started.
    I agree with your second paragraph entirely. I would add the Taliban have the advantage of knowing the terrain intimately.

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 01/24/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  • Is it possible to get GPS or lat/long coordinates for all the towns that are mentioned in these reports? The naming conventions are inconsistent transliterations and thus mostly useless.
    It does seem that it should be possible to create an overlay or mashup for google earth that identifies the camps and al qaeda/taliban headquarters in the border reaches.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis