Pakistani military claims 90 Taliban killed in attacks

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the tribal areas and the NWFP. Click to view.

The fighting in South Waziristan continues for the third straight day. The military estimated over 90 Taliban were killed after ambushing a convoy and assaulting a fort. Both engagements were initiated by the Taliban.

In the first engagement, the Pakistani military claimed the Taliban ambushed a military convoy on the Jandola-Wana Road in South Waziristan. “The security forces retaliated and engaged militants/miscreants with small arms and rockets,” according to The Associated Press of Pakistan, the government’s official press agency. “The fire fight continued for an hour. Exact number of miscreant’s casualties is not known, however, it is estimated that 20 to 30 miscreants were killed.”

The second engagement involved a Taliban-massed assault on the Ladha Fort. The Taliban reportedly launched the coordinated assault using mortars and assault rifles. “A large number of miscreants started gathering around north of the fort at 3 p.m.,” according to The Associated Press of Pakistan report. “Security Forces used artillery, mortars and small arms fire to engage the miscreants. Reportedly, 50 to 60 miscreants were killed and rest of them dispersed. The security forces suffered no [casualties].”

While the incidents are more than common in Pakistan’s tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan, the unbalanced casualties are not. The Pakistani military claimed only four wounded while claiming to inflict 90 kills on the Pakistani forces. Pakistani troops, particularly the paramilitary Frontier Corps stationed in the region, have suffered high casualties during engagements with the Taliban.

Today’s reports of fighting in South Waziristan follow two days of Taliban assaults on two forts on the Afghan border. On Jan. 16, the Taliban overran the Sararogha Fort after conducting a conventional nighttime assault with upwards of 1,000 fighters. The Taliban claimed it killed 16 Frontier Corps soldiers manning the base and captured 24. The military said 40 Taliban and seven soldiers were killed. Twenty-four soldiers are still reported missing.

On Jan. 17, the Frontier Corps manning the Saklatoi Fort abandoned the outpost after receiving threats from the Taliban. About 40 paramilitary soldiers fled the post without a fight.

The Taliban claimed it captured 60 soldiers during the Saklatoi incident. “There were 60 soldiers from Frontier Corps in the fort, and all of them did not offer resistance,” said Maulavi Omar, the spokesman for Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud. He said the Taliban later released the soldiers and were now advancing on the Serwakai Fort.

“By capturing military forts and making soldiers hostage, we want to exert pressure on the government to accept our demands,” Omar told the Pak Tribune. “These [demands] are very simple. We have continuously been asking the government to halt military operations, release Lal Masjid Khateeb (prayers leader) Maulana Abdul Aziz and all other male and female students of religious schools arrested from Islamabad and other parts of the country.”

The government disputes the reports the Saklatoi Fort was abandoned, and claims its soldiers still occupy the outpost. “Absolutely baseless and I reject this report,” said Major General Athar Abbas, the military spokesman. “I want to clarify that the Pakistan Army and the Frontier Corps personnel are still present in the fort.”

The same day the Taliban took the Saklatoi Fort, the Taliban struck in Peshawar, the provincial capital. A teenaged suicide bomber detonated outside a Shia mosque, killing 10 and wounding 25. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which serves as al Qaeda’s foot soldiers in Pakistan and has close ties to Baitullah, was behind the attack, security officials told AFP.

“The bomber first fired some shots and then blew himself up,” a security official said. “The modus operandi is the hallmark of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and it shows they have plans to stoke sectarian hatred.”

The Taliban have conducted numerous attacks in Peshawar and the greater Northwest Frontier Province. In December 2007, Pakistani security officials claimed the Taliban planned to launch an offensive against the provincial capital and is looking to occupy the city by June 2008. “Our good luck is that the Taliban have not yet made ground in west (Khyber tribal district), otherwise, Peshawar would have been surrounded from three different directions and it would have been extremely difficult to defend the fort from the three-pronged attack,” one Pakistani official told the Daily Times.

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

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.



  • Marlin says:

    Bill said:

    The fighting in South Waziristan continues for the third straight day.

    All indications from the Pakistani Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies are that it will not end anytime soon either.

    Takfiri militants Qadri Tahir Yaldeshiv (Photo) and Abdul Khaliq Haqqani called for urgent action against the armed forces […].
    The video was sent from Tahir Yaldeshiv’s camp in North Waziristan which borders Afghanistan.
    Tahir Yaldeshiv’s closest aide and disciple Baitullah Mehsud, alleged to be responsible for the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was said to have been behind the fort attack.

    ADNKI: Pakistan: Al-Qaeda leaders call for new Jihad against armed forces

  • Afghanistan, Paksistan and even Israel

    Violence in Pakistan continues to metastasize to the point where the government finally seems serious about fighting the Islamists. It is spilling over into Afghanistan somewhat too, but things are decidedly better in the poorer and more primitive coun…

  • Marlin says:

    I believe this is an example of how the U.S, can provide a positive, but indirect, influence on what’s going on in the NWFP.

    Two platoons of the US-trained Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army, accompanied by Peshawar-based units of the Frontier Corps (FC), were helicopter-lifted to South Waziristan on January 18, 2008, to beat back a group of about 150 Mehsuds and Uzbeks, who had assembled in an attempt to capture a third fort near Laddah, in which an outpost of the FC was located. They dispersed the jihadis after killing about 60 of them. Another platoon of the SSG recaptured the fort at Siplatoi, which had been taken over by the Mehsuds on January 17, 2008, after the FC personnel posted there surrendered or ran away without a fight.

    Outlook India: Going All Out

  • chris says:

    If the jihadi’s have a new plan of assembling and charging fortified positions or lingering in them, they are making the job of decreasing their numbers of live adherehents much easier.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram