Pakistani military facing tougher fight in northwest than reported

The Pakistani military has encountered tougher resistance than it has reported since it took on the Taliban in the Swat Valley in late April, according to a classified intelligence briefing given to the senior-most Indian military leaders. The tough fighting has caused cracks in some of the military units, but the force has not broken.

The secret briefing was recently delivered by the Indian Defense Staff to the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the equivalent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Two pages of the briefing, labeled “SIT IN FATA,” or the situation in the FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Agency], have been obtained by The Long War Journal. Elements of this briefing were reported by India Today on June 16.

US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal the Indian assessment is “accurate.”

The Indian assessment said that more than 370 soldiers have been killed and some soldiers have deserted since the operation against Mullah Fazlullah’s Taliban forces in Swat, Dir, and Buner began almost two months ago. India Today put the number of soldiers that have deserted at more than 900.

The Pakistani military has reported only 120 soldiers have been killed during the operation, while claiming more than 1,500 Taliban fighters, or more than 20 percent of the estimated Taliban fighters in Swat, have been killed. The numbers cannot be confirmed as the military has conducted a virtual media blackout in the Swat Valley. In the past, US military sources have described the Taliban casualty figures to The Long War Journal as “wildly exaggerated,” and have put the latest estimate of Taliban killed at around 500.

“Infighting/mutinous conditions” exist in some Pakistani Army units, according to the report. “Incidence of mutiny” has been reported in three of the 22 brigades fighting in the northwest. The report identified the units as the Parachinar and Kohat Brigades from XI Corps, and the Turbat Brigade from XII Corps. There have been six incidences of fratricide or open violence between soldiers in the three named brigades, and the military has “requisitioned psych advisors for embedding” into the units.

The Pakistani Army is “conducting major ops” in the northwest but the top leadership of the Taliban and al Qaeda operating in the region are “still intact” due to “poor HUMINT [human intelligence] and lack of local support.” Of the 21 senior Taliban leaders identified by the Pakistani government as wanted, none have been killed or captured. The military claims the second and third tier leaders of the Swat Taliban have suffered significant losses.

The operations have been described as “successful in some areas” but the Army has “alienated” the local population. Civilians fleeing the region have reported that the Army has used heavy-handed tactics such as indiscriminate artillery and airstrikes against civilians.

Pakistani Army has suffered worse in the past

While the Indian assessment paints a bleak picture of the state of the Pakistani military, the force has suffered worse in the past, and has held as a cohesive unit during the current operation.

An estimated 22,000 soldiers are reported to have been deployed in Swat, putting the desertion rate at around six percent, a high number but not a crippling one given that some of the soldiers have been recruited from the areas where they are fighting.

During past operations, desertions have been reported to have numbered in the thousands. During an operation against the Abdullah Mehsud-led Taliban in South Waziristan in 2004, heavy fighting and a fatwa, or religious edict, are thought to have contributed to the abandonment of the offensive and the signing of the first of many failed peace agreements.

The fatwa, which was issued by Red Mosque leaders Maulana Abdul Aziz and Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, stated that Pakistani soldiers killed while fighting against the Taliban and al Qaeda in South Waziristan did not deserve a Muslim funeral or a burial at Muslim cemeteries. This fatwa had an impact on Pakistani soldiers and many refused to fight or abandoned their units.

The military has also sustained the offensive in Swat, Dir and Buner, and has expanded operations into Mohmand, Bajaur, Arakzai, Bannu, and Hangu. Some of these forays, such as in Hangu and Arakzai, have consisted of punitive air and artillery strikes, however.

The military is also in the opening stages of an offensive in South Waziristan. The Army and Air Force are conducting strikes against Baitullah Mehsud’s forces, but appear to have chosen not to confront the other three powerful commanders. But the military is still preparing to march into the teeth of the Taliban in South Waziristan, indicating that while the Army may have been bloodied, it hasn’t been broken.

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.

Tags:

42 Comments

  • KaneKaizer says:

    370 soldiers killed before the assault into South Waziristan has even begun? If the US ever suffered such losses in an offensive, popular support would dissipate overnight. No wonder the government wouldn’t want to release those kinds of figures.
    I’m amazed that with those kinds of losses the Pakistani Army would hold together knowing that the real fight is only about to begin in South Waziristan.

  • imran says:

    This is a shear nonsence to say that 900 troops from Pakistan Army deserted their posts.
    The Indians surely are helping these taliban by funding and provision of weapons while intrigingly the US & Nato are over looking their activities.
    Pakistan Armed Forces will by the Grace of Almighty Allah prevail on these murderers and misguided barbarians who kill and slaughter in the name of religion.

  • Bill,
    Desertions are a way of life and Pakistan military has chugged along. I think its pertinent to think, what next. Assuming Pakistan is successful in eliminating Taliban (Pakistan), it is in no mood to take action against the other Taliban (Afghan).
    While it is well known that the second rung military officers that were handpicked by Zia on Islamist credential are now in powers of position in the Army / Airforce / Navy. Real power is going to be ceded to Islamist Pakistan Army in cohorts with Taliban (Afghan) and terror groups like Lashkar e Taiba.
    The question is, is it the military only? The answer is NO.
    Western powers having access to Sandhurst military officers and english language speaking professors and journalists are not getting news from local dialect speaking peasants and workers – where real revolutions takes place and starts.
    Even in the higher echleons of Pakistan – let me bring you this comment from Mr. Zaki – He is Pakistan’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs a former Ambassador of Pakistan to Beijing and Washington. This article is extracted from a speech he delivered at the Third International Conference on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini held at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) in Tehran on June 2, 2009.
    Mr Zaki stated: “The Islamic Revolution (in IRAN) means that another non-western Civilization has emerged on world’s political scene to play its distinct role. But real difference, which makes the Islamic revolution unique and more important is the Spiritual dimension ie the Divine Law as its source and the Universality of its message. Today’s mankind, tired of too much greed and exploitation, needs to seek happiness by rebuilding the Society on spiritual foundations.”
    He is in favor of Sharia in Pakistan too ! So are over 70% of Pakistan. Now how much are these 70%?
    Pakistans’ population in 1947 was 30 million, today it is 160 million and in 2050 it will be 300 million – a growth of 900% in 100 years.
    That is the reality one needs to look into. The fighting in SWAT is just a farce enacted for Western donors ….

  • whisker says:

    Thanks for the link Bill, I missed this one. This could in fact be true but the Indian press isn’t exactly the greatest source of news about Pakistan because of the obvious tension between the two countries. Perhaps more will come out of this later. Anyway Thanks
    E

  • Bill Roggio says:

    whisker,
    I thought it was pretty clear that I received a copy of the briefing. I had saw the report from India Today two days ago and linked it in the News links section. It was compelling and that is a great reliable source of information, but I needed more than just that.

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/18/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • Rhyno327 says:

    Oooh…if thats true they are taking a beating. You have to be skeptical of the sources though. I do believe that some don’t want to kill thier own. This tug-o-war is far from over.

  • MZBH says:

    psy-ops by the Indians now.
    They have to tray and get their own back after the years of desertions, fratricide and breakdown in discipline (rapes and murders – check HRW and AI reports) in Kashmir.
    Whether you saw the report or not Bill, it is still and Indian generated report, conveniently leaked to the press.
    As someone else pointed out, desertions occur in any army, and PA soldiers are not going to be immune from the psychological pressures of fighting a messy insurgency against fellow Pakistanis.
    Unlike the Indians in Kashmir and NATO in Afghanistan, there are strong bonds on nationhood, faith and in many cases ethnicity in this war for Pakistan.
    Nonetheless, I’ll take ‘leaks’ like this out of Indian intelligence with a pinch of salt.

  • MZBH says:

    “In the past, US military sources have described the Taliban casualty figures to The Long War Journal as “wildly exaggerated,” and have put the latest estimate of Taliban killed at around 500.”
    As reported on this site as well – US intelligence can’t even gets the casualties inflicted by its own troops on the Taliban right – how on earth can they estimate casualties in a warzone in Pakistan? They even got the death of a Taliban commander wrong (as has Pakistan in the past), as you yourself posted recently.
    P.S: The single biggest day of casualties in the Swat Op.s resulted from an attack on a training camp in Shangla I believe (200+ for that particular day). Those casualties were later verified by a civilian DCO of the region in another report in The News.
    I see little reason to believe the assertion by US intelligence. Smacks of trying to put the Pakistanis down to make themselves look better.

  • John says:

    First up even at the worst of times, Indian desertion and fraticide rates were nowhere near 6%.
    6% is an extremely high number but it is to be expected, since I believe the Frontier Corps and the paramilitary arms drawn from the Pashtun provinces are still bearing the brunt of the fighting.

  • dude40000 says:

    Some very interesting analysis about the war on orbat.com by Ravi Rikhiye at orbat.com.
    Here’s the excerpt:
    But from //www.longwarjournal.org June 17, 2009 we learn that this Mesud gentleman has 30,000 fighters under his command and another 20,000 in allied/associated groups. The three other major commanders have 50,000 fighters. AQ in Pakistan has 10,000. This makes 110,000 fighters, and it doesn’t take too much math to calculate that at 600 fighters per Pakistan army battalion (rifle and weapons companies) the Pakistan army has 130,000 infantry to the Taliban’s 100,000. Of course, that doesn’t count the Pakistan Army’s approximately 130 or so towed artillery battalions and the approximately 300 or so fighter aircraft in the Pakistan Air Force.
    No one can argue that the Pakistan Army has firepower superiority. But the Taliban’s forces, for all they operate in units as large as brigades, do not fight a conventional fight when facing the Pakistan Army. They are guerrillas, and while that firepower comes in handy if the Taliban commander makes a mistake, it is of basically no help except to make holes in the ground and kill civilians.
    So Pakistan could send every single soldier it has facing India to the west, it is absolutely, completely, totally not in a position to fight the Taliban and win. Even the US, for all its phenomenal surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence, mobility, and firepower resources cannot win at such odds

  • Bill Roggio says:

    MBZH,
    I don’t disagree that reports from the Indians should be taken with a grain of salt. I will say that it does coincide with other reports I have received from US intel and even some Pakistani sources.
    Regardless, if that is Indian propaganda it isn’t very good. They actually admit the Pak Army is making some progress and they are not saying the Pak Army has broken.
    I think what is more significant is what is mentioned in the second half of the article. If you read into what the Indians are saying, it shows there is resolve in the Pak Army despite some tough losses and problems. The desertion rates really aren’t that bad considering the situation. That the Army has held and taken on more responsibility is a positive development. I don;t think I could have been more clear about this.
    As far as US casualty reports: when the US gets it wrong, they correct the record. For instance one day after they thought they got Mullah Mustafa in Ghor, they retracted it:
    //www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/06/iranianbacked_afghan.php
    The US Army/military has admitted to its mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan. It just unceremoniously fired the ISAF commander.
    That is called being honest. I certainly don’t expect perfection in initial reports, it isn’t called the fog of war for nothing. What I do expect is honesty and candor. The Pakistani Army would do well to be open about what is working and what isn’t, and to occasionally admit that things didn’t go as they had thought, or that an HVT they thought they killed wasn’t.
    For instance, the Pak Army still hasn’t retracted its report that Mustafa Abu Yazid was killed last summer. The guy has been on several propaganda tapes since then.
    Admit you got it wrong and we’ll understand. Obscure the truth and we’ll be critical.
    Keep trotting out Gen Abbas to give press briefings, and we’ll be skeptical. The general has blatantly lied to us numerous times (I’ve documented this) yet we are supposed to trust his reports?
    And after we’re told of the value of the peace agreements, how Baitullah is a “patriot” by a Corps Commander, how Mullah Fazlullah is a “local Taliban” not involved with the bigger movement, how Sufi Mohammed is a “moderate tribal leader”… I coudl go on. Shall I?
    This is why very few people trust what comes from the Pakistani military. You are free to accept their word if you wish.

  • MZBH says:

    Bill:
    “And after we’re told of the value of the peace agreements, how Baitullah is a “patriot” by a Corps Commander, how Mullah Fazlullah is a “local Taliban” not involved with the bigger movement, how Sufi Mohammed is a “moderate tribal leader”… I coudl go on. Shall I?”
    A different situation for each one of those instances:
    1. Indian warmongering and a decision to close ranks and close the front in the West in case of Indian aggression post Mumbai.
    2. Fazlullah was a local Taliban not involved in a bigger movement. Failure to act against him, and his alliance with the TTP and reinforcements from FATA and elsewhere allowed him to get to the point he is at.
    3. You can’t very well use Sufi Mohammed for attempting a peace deal and call him an extremist nut case.
    The problem is not with the statements you mentioned, the problem is with the inability to understand the context in which each action is taken.
    I consider those well thought out shifts in positions by the PA based on the strategic requirements and priorities of the time. So yes, I will continue to give the PA statements credence.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    “Fazlullah was a local Taliban not involved in a bigger movement. Failure to act against him, and his alliance with the TTP and reinforcements from FATA and elsewhere allowed him to get to the point he is at.”
    That is rich. The TTP is a larger movement, one your own government says is allied with al Qaeda. You know, Baitullah, the guy that hosts al Qaeda leaders runs suicide camps and such.
    “You can’t very well use Sufi Mohammed for attempting a peace deal and call him an extremist nut case.”
    Only in Pakistan is a guy like Sufi Mohammed considered a moderate. Well maybe not only in Pakistan… Perhaps you should read what he said about Osama bin Laden, or democracy in pakistan, or his leading 10,000 fighters to wage jihad in Pakistan, or his group being “banned” by your own government for being a terrorist group.
    “The problem is not with the statements you mentioned, the problem is with the inability to understand the context in which each action is taken.”
    I’d address that, but I really don’t think I need to. I’ll let the other readers decide who is missing the context of events in Pakistan. Particularly when your own statements contradict what what the government you are defending is saying.

  • Zalmay says:

    And round and round we go. The bottom line for the US and Pakistani forces is that they cannot win against the Pashtuns. Even the Indians are beginning to realize this. Sadly, this realization will set in only after the loss of many lives.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I’ll also address MZBH’s first point:
    “Indian warmongering and a decision to close ranks and close the front in the West in case of Indian aggression post Mumbai.”
    To be clear to the other reader, MZBH is addressing the point I made about a Pakistani Army Corps Commander calling Baitullah Mehsud a “patriot”.
    Where I come from, “patriots” don’t train and sortie child suicide bombers, murder local politicians (the US equivalent of “tribal leaders”), assassinate former Prime Ministers, order suicide attacks in our major cities, blow up hotels, target the Army, police, and national guard, etc.
    There is absolutely no context whatsoever where calling someone like Baitullah Mehsud a “patriot” is considered reasonable. None. Some better terms: “enemy of the state” or “monster” or “mass murderer” or “traitor”. Perhaps the good corps Commander should rethink his statement and issue an apology. Otherwise many of us question the judgment of keeping him in command.

  • Xavier says:

    MZBH,
    Bill is right when he says US military is honest. They may have occasional lapses, imperfections, and mistakes, what makes them honest is that they eventually reassess the situation and confess their mistakes. Military people need to take decisions quickly and hence there will be many mistakes, the challenge is to accept them.
    Bill,
    Now you are trying to argue with someone and you don’t have the ideological background or agenda-driven argument but the other person has. So if your idea is to report the truth it is not an easy job especially to convince someone with an ideology whose conclusion is foregone independent of facts on the ground.
    I guess this is a result of indoctrination (twisted history) from childhood. You can’t make them see the Western point of view, which despite shortcomings supports universal values. The standard response always involves blaming West/Israel/India/China, yes some even blame China.

  • T Ruth says:

    MZBH:”3. You can’t very well use Sufi Mohammed for attempting a peace deal and call him an extremist nut case
    The problem is not with the statements you mentioned, the problem is with the inability to understand the context in which each action is taken”
    Bill: “I’d address that, but I really don’t think I need to. I’ll let the other readers decide who is missing the context of events in Pakistan”
    —————————————————
    Bill, I will gladly oblige.
    MZBH, since you are so hung up on context, let me provide you some. For starters, I think you should (re)read Bill’s analysis of Feb 18, 4 short months ago.
    In the opening para Bill states with the kind of crystal clarity we do not always find in Pakistan-apologists…”The agreement will lead to a further deterioration of the situation in Pakistan and is a direct threat to the security of the Pakistani state.”
    Read more: //www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/02/analysis_pakistan_pe.php#ixzz0IoVIRuTO&C
    Bill is neither a fortune-teller, nor a rocket scientist, and above all is he is not a propagandist. Further, he is not a local Pakistani, one with a very fine-sense of local feel and culture. (None of these are needed!) Yet, I’m sorry to tell you, he has NO “inability to understand the context”. The FACT is that Bill was dead (the pun definitely not intended, other than towards the “peace” agreement, which was still-born) right, and all the collective wisdom of the Pakistani political and military establishment dead-wrong.
    In fact your contexts are nothing but masked apologies and therefore, PROPAGANDA.
    But the problem is not only the integrity of the Pakistani military’s statements but the inability to intellectualize and execute, a cohesive strategy to save itself. Such is the risk when integrity is compromised.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    T Ruth, nice job digging that out. I’ve said that so many times I’ve forgotten I wrote it.
    Xavier, MZBH makes a reasoned argument in a respectful way. I may disagree but he is fair in how he presents his argument (you should see the hateful comments that are filtered out in some of these posts). Given that I think the best I (we) can do is give him a reasoned response, defend our views, state out case, and be respectful. If he can’t or won’t respond, I’ve done my job.
    I realize I don’t get to wade into the comments often due to the amount of information I have wade thru on a daily basis, but if there were more comments like those from MZBH I’d try to make more time to argue against it.

  • tbrucia says:

    Given the amount of dust thrown into the air, it may take a bit of time for the facts of what’s going on in Swat to become apparent…. What’s sure is that wishful thinking, obfuscation, etc ONLY mask the ‘facts on the ground’ for a period of weeks or months — not longer! I keep going back to David Kilcullen… and I ask myself: ‘At 2 a.m. in any given village in Swat, can folks sleep safely?’ If the answer is ‘yes’, then one party or other is in control. The question is, ‘What institution is running this village at 2 a.m.?’ When control alternates between 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day or two, the village is doomed, since each side will exterminate those it fears, either leaving the villagers terrified, or on the road to a safer place… The exodus of civilians is a sign that things are not going well…. control is not being established 24/7/52…

  • Xavier says:

    Bill,
    I want to be respectful, but sometimes our PC should not interfere with our analysis.
    Look at some comments by some people(one person) here. Tacit approval/support of Sufi Mohammad who sent 10,000 to fight US in Afg. Toning down the threat posed by Fazlullah.
    And people wonder who supports Taliban. If history has taught one thing it is that extremists (from any religion/ideology including communism) hide behind the “moderates” who do not have guts to speak out against.
    There is a continuous spectrum from Taliban friends to Taliban enemies. I guess at least some people are in the zone where they tacitly support and ignore their cruelty and simultaneously see things with magnifying glass (and pounce on them) whenever their ideological enemies make small mistakes. And then there are many conspiracy theories floating around.
    Defending a coreligionist solely on that basis is what’s going on. This is the reason Taliban became a menace in the first place.

  • Zalmay says:

    T Ruth and Bill,
    You’re both actually partly wrong. The smarter folks within the Pakistani political and military establishment realize that they, nor the US, can win against the Taliban on either side of the border. I would suggest reading Ravi’s comments on orbat.com, as he does a better job in articulating this reality.

  • MZBH says:

    Bill Roggio:
    “That is rich. The TTP is a larger movement, one your own government says is allied with al Qaeda. You know, Baitullah, the guy that hosts al Qaeda leaders runs suicide camps and such.”

  • MZBH says:

    Bill Roggio:
    “The US Army/military has admitted to its mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan. It just unceremoniously fired the ISAF commander.
    That is called being honest. I certainly don’t expect perfection in initial reports, it isn’t called the fog of war for nothing. What I do expect is honesty and candor. The Pakistani Army would do well to be open about what is working and what isn’t, and to occasionally admit that things didn’t go as they had thought, or that an HVT they thought they killed wasn’t. ”
    I fail to see how you can claim that the PA sticking with its intelligence analysis suggesting that it killed an HVT is ‘dishonesty’? What it does indicate is that the PA believes in its intelligence, and does not believe the Taliban/AQ claims that the HVT is alive (if the PA is indeed officially still insisting that it killed a certain HVT). To conclude from that that the PA is ‘dishonest’ is reaching a bit too far and smacks of bias, and like I said, I am not certain whether the PA is still officially insisting that the HVT you mentioned was killed.
    The PA has traditionally been a very opaque organization. Adopting a more transparent PR role has come slowly, though the improvements, going by the Swat operation, are impressive. The PA seems to have learnt its lesson about claiming HVT kills, since it has been at pains to point out that it cannot confirm whether Mullah FM or his spokesperson were killed, despite GoP and GoNWFP leaders stating that they thought he was dead.
    The DG ISPR has been at hand to answer almost all press queries, and has done so very well, though I still have complaint on some issues, but improvements will come with time. None of this suggests dishonesty – it points to an organization that is maturing into adopting a more polished and transparent PR strategy.
    Let me also point out that in many airstrikes the US has still not reconciled its accounts with those of the locals and GoA. One major strike last year ended with egg on the US militaries face when the SECOND investigation into the strikes supported the original US conclusion, only for cell phone footage showing those killed in the strikes emerged. The accounts of the most recent case of air strikes gone awry are similarly unresolved between the US and locals. Should I take this as a sign of ‘dishonesty’ on the part of the US military then? That it refuses to acknowledge civilian casualties till damning evidence emerges? Or is it a case of the US military sticking to its conclusions based on the evidence it has, even though US conclusions contradict what locals think happened?
    Why is the same latitude not extended to the PA, which has a far less sophisticated and mature PR arm, instead of accusing it of dishonesty?

  • MZBH says:

    “Regardless, if that is Indian propaganda it isn’t very good. They actually admit the Pak Army is making some progress and they are not saying the Pak Army has broken.”
    That doesn’t mean anything. Those issues are easily verifiable, and it would be hard for the Indians to claim otherwise given that the military has taken in local and foreign reporters to Mingora and other towns and locations to show that they have been cleared, and the IDP’s are beginning to return.
    In addition, US military authorities have this to say:
    General James Conway:
    “General Conway said they have done masterful things with regard to the information operations effort that must be in place when one takes these people on. “You see the villagers siding with the army now, conducting independent operations or being relying upon the army to assist them in what they’re doing”.
    “Its all very wholesome. we wish them continued success and salute them for what I think, again, has been a masterful military maneuver at this point, based on what we have seen”, Conway said.”
    General Petraeus:
    “‘These have been quite impressive operations and I think Pakistan deserves some significant credit for it   the concepts are solid and the execution is on track,’ ”
    With all this praise for the PA operations, the Indians woudl be fools to not recognize that the PA has made significant advances. So they focused on lying about the parts they know are not easily verifiable, and easily distorted – Army and taliban casualties, desertions and the whole canard about ‘artillery and air strikes on civilians’.
    The latter was debunked by the journalists taken on the Swat tours, who were surprised at the lack of damage in the towns and populated areas that saw (including Mingora) since they too had believed that the PA/PAF were bombing ‘willy nilly’.
    Now I can see the Pakistani casualty and desertion figures being accurate if they include the Frontier Corps, Levies, Scouts etc, because AFAIK, the daily ISPR briefings focus on Army casualties only, not the paramilitaries.
    The CO in Swat recently terminated about 24 Levies who surrendered their post in Lower Dir when it came under attack, and I believe were rescued from being taken hostage by villagers.
    I continue to have strong doubts about the 500 Taliban dead being suggested. The strike on the one Taliban camp alone, verified through the DCO of the district, resulted in about 200 Taliban dead.
    Perhaps you should consider that the Taliban were buoyed by their success in the peace deal and the half hearted ops immediately before the peace deal, and actually tried to fight as a conventional force initially, and hold ground in the various towns and villages.
    The intelligence intercepts of the TTP-Swat spokesperson speaking with someone in FATA indicate that they suffered heavy casualties:
    MK: We are under pressure. The intensity of brutality is not known by you people because army is not allowing journalists in.
    2nd: ok I will convey your massage till evening you are doing right thing????
    MK: If you people will keep on sitting like this, things will get out of hands
    2nd I agree
    **MK = Muslim Khan, Taliban Swat Spokesperson
    //www.defence.pk/forums/pakistans-war/27411-taliban-intel-intercepts-pakistan-winning-its-wot.html
    To argue that Pakistan suffered 375 dead, 900 desertions while inflicting only 500 Taliban casualties is really stretching the bounds of credulity, to put it nicely. The evidence, what little there is, suggests otherwise.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    MZBH,
    “This has nothing to do with supporting or accepting the actions of the Taliban and AQ, it has everything to do with prioritizing the threats facing the country”.
    Thank you for clearly articulating the Pakistani state’s embracing of strategic depth. This is what bought you your insurgency, and your refusal to discard it will allow you to be mired in this insurgency for year to come. We really do understand India is the primary threat, not those “locals” murdering thousands of your citizens, detting child suicide bombs against your police, military, etc., hosting al Qaeda, and actively using your country to attack Afghanistan.
    Even your “pro-government locals” like Zainullah Mehsud openly admit they side with Mullah Omar & Osama and use Pakistan to attack Afghanistan. And your government supports him. News flash: If Baitullah buys it, guys like Zainullah merely will take their place. You can tell yourself all day long that you’ll be fine as he only wants to strike in Afghanistan, but the reality is he’ll host the same people that will conduct attacks in Pakistan. See Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Mullah Nazir, for instance.
    That you can defend and rationalize dealings with Baitullah, Fazlullah (who is anything but local, but nice try), Sufi, and the like also speaks volumes. There really are some people governments shouldn’t deal with, despite the security concerns. Clear the government doesn’t understand the awful message it sent to the Pakistani people living under the boot of the Taliban, and those close to it. And you wonder why the people are reluctant to support the military. Its because they’ve been thrown to the wolves far too often.
    That it took atrocities AFTER the Swat deal to mobilize public opinion also speaks volumes. It is odd that years of mass casualty suicide attacks (Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Wah, Dargai, Peshawar….), the denuding of the tribal leadership, assassinations, oppressive rule were not considered significant or horrific.
    I have significant doubts the Pakistani military has achieved a 15-1 kill ration when it has yet to come even close to doing so in the past.
    The rest, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I’ve seen far too much dishonesty from the ISPR to chalk it up to organizational inertia. And nice try on Mustafa Abu Yazid. You’ll excuse me for not buying General Petraeus or General Conway’s glowing assessments. And the civilians fleeing the fighting have told far different stories that the journalists taken on guided tours of the battlefield. If things were so rosy the PA wouldn’t have put a media blackout (except for filtered tours) and provided nearly all the info through high level briefings.
    That said, and despite all of my skepticism, the Pakistani offensive and resolve so far has exceeded my expectations, the military has held, and the leadership is willing to take on more, even though they may be overextending itself. I made the point in the second half of the article, you clearly missed that, sadly.

  • Rhyno327 says:

    All those names mentioned above are all branches of the same tree. The P-stani’s have continued thier course of misinformation, and outright lies. The PAK gov has allowed these “wolves” to prey on the “sheep”, the pop. of t-ban/AQ controlled parts of P-stan. The P-stani military has said the anti-t-ban laskars are on thier own is a serious mistake. No wonder the people have no confidence in thier gov., army etc. They fear the militants, and rightly so.

  • Mat says:

    Mr. Roggio,
    Don’t forget that there will be wounded involved in those counts as well. If there are close to 400 Pakistani soldiers killed, then there are possibly (?) 1200-1600 wounded if the usual 3 or 4-1 wounded to killed ratio is applied (though it’s entirely possible that this is not the case either).
    If this is so, then many of those wounded are not returning to combat, so the loss percentage (someone said 6%) can probably be bumped up even higher.
    In any case, roughly 500 Taliban killed seems right. Does the 4-1 wound/kill ratio apply to them (a lot would depend on their medical facilities)?
    Anyway, the way the fighting seems to be going, it looks like the Pakistani army is just trying to blast their way forward while the more agile Taliban forces hit their weak spots. The question is whether the Pakistani army can survive an extended period of that sort of war.

  • Xavier says:

    Bill,
    MZBH does not realize that its Pak govt that used Sufi as mediator NOT Bill Roggio.
    I think MZBH knows that Mehsuds, Sufi Mohammad and the ilk openly side with AQ and bin Laden and still defending them. This shows his/her priorities and leanings clearly.
    AT this point these are disagreements btwn Bill and MZBH that can’t be solved by discussions. If Bush and Laden could resolve their differences by talking, they would have.

  • MZBH says:

    Bill Roggio:
    “Thank you for clearly articulating the Pakistani state’s embracing of strategic depth. This is what bought you your insurgency, and your refusal to discard it will allow you to be mired in this insurgency for year to come. We really do understand India is the primary threat, not those “locals” murdering thousands of your citizens, detting child suicide bombs against your police, military, etc., hosting al Qaeda, and actively using your country to attack Afghanistan.”
    My comment has nothing to do with strategic depth. You missed the qualifier I included and distorted my point – ‘The Taliban and AQ are not a threat in case of an attack or imminent attack by India’. I do not support my country fighting an insurgency while the threat of the Indians attacking Pakistan is high, as was the case in the immediate aftermath of Mumbai. The IAF Chief recently admitted that plans to attack Pakistan were finalized and the GoI was strongly considering the option.
    This does not make the Taliban or AQ good, it just lowers the threat they pose to Pakistan relative to the Indians. So long as they Indians back off, and there is no danger of Indian aggression, I completely support strong military action against the Taliban and AQ – I did so before the Mumbai attacks, and I do so now, since the Eastern front has cooled down again.
    “I have significant doubts the Pakistani military has achieved a 15-1 kill ration when it has yet to come even close to doing so in the past.”
    That argument assumes that the PA is a static organization incapable of learning, adapting and evolving, and not even the Indians would argue that.
    Similar levels of casualties were also inflicted upon the Taliban in the Bajaur operation, though Loisam and some other areas ended up being leveled. The Bajaur Ops were however a huge improvement from previous engagements and the current Swat Operation, from open source information, appears to have improved upon Bajaur, with so far no evidence of Loisam like destruction.
    By extension your argument would suggest that we should not believe any proclaimed future improvements in Afghanistan, because the US/NATO have not been able to display any in the eight years so far!
    There is plenty of open source information, and the words of the Military leadership backing up my arguments. You are using an Indian sourced intel report and ‘anonymous sources’.
    “The rest, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I’ve seen far too much dishonesty from the ISPR to chalk it up to organizational inertia.”
    We can agree to disagree, but I would like to once more point out that just because Pakistani intel sources claimed certain HVT’s were killed does not make them dishonest – at worse it makes their intel suspect in those cases. Without providing a specific response from the ISPR on the issue of Masri – whether they continue to support their initial assertion that he was killed, and why – calling them dishonest is really stretching it too far without justification.
    But if there is information that I may have overlooked, that points to the ISPR deliberately lying, instead of just getting its intelligence wrong, like the US has several times as well, then I’ll reconsider my position.
    “If things were so rosy the PA wouldn’t have put a media blackout (except for filtered tours) and provided nearly all the info through high level briefings.”
    That’s a speculative argument and you know it. From what I understand, the decision to not allow media coverage in the warzone has been taken so as to not allow civilian casualties to be used as propaganda and allow the public and political support for the military operations to fall. If you followed the Pakistani media in the days after the Lal Masjid operation, you should know how the media distorted the civilian casualties and blamed the PA for acting as it did, despite the fact that they were egging the PA, and criticizing the dragging standoff, to take action right until the operation.
    “You’ll excuse me for not buying General Petraeus or General Conway’s glowing assessments.”
    You are then calling your own top Military leadership liars and ‘dishonest’, and the question then arises as to why anything else the US Military does should be considered ‘honest’, as you claimed earlier.
    “That said, and despite all of my skepticism, the Pakistani offensive and resolve so far has exceeded my expectations, the military has held, and the leadership is willing to take on more, even though they may be overextending itself. I made the point in the second half of the article, you clearly missed that, sadly.”
    Mr. Roggio, I did not miss that, and I do appreciate that conclusion of yours. My disagreements with you are on the ‘details’.
    I have no love lost for the people we are now hunting, and I would like nothing more than the Eastern front to remain calm so that Pakistan can continue focusing on this threat and eliminate it.

  • Junky says:

    Hey, I think the main thing that matter in guerrilla warfare is resolve of the common people not the strength of military. I agree with Bill comments that its really hard to believe on military spokesperson esp. when he has lied blatantly but remember his main job is to maintain the public opinion on the media front. I guess this time the people have a change of heart against the whole ideology. There are multiple instances that have swayed the public opinion like the public beating of the young girl, beheading of officials and other notables, strict control of these hardliners over the control of a common persons life and then there is the economic downturn and closure of businesses in the Taliban controlled areas.
    FYI, I am a Pakistani and I have lived half of my life in NWFP. There is no need to give excuses on behalf of Talibans or Pakistans government. The men at helm of these affairs are either lunatic extremists or the most corrupt politician (President Zardari – previously labelled as Mr 10% by BBC and his cronies) and delusional army generals. The people have to face these dilemmas upfront. Its not only a problem for upper middle class but the economically deprived sector of population too. The realization is not afar that this religious extremism and the defunct political system cannot bring change in peoples life. We have to stop flirting with these retarded ideals.
    As far the Indian angle, I think both sides (India and Pakistan) have interfered with their neighbor affairs. There’s plenty of blame to go around (on each side) but the fact remains that there is a part of local population (Talibans) fighting the same old battle of cultural egotism according to their own interpretation of religion (exported by the wahabi brand of mullahs)

  • Bill Roggio says:

    MZBH,
    “My comment has nothing to do with strategic depth.”
    It had everything to do with strategic depth. You government views jihadist as allies against the Indians. Dissemble all you like on this point, it couldn’t have been more clear what was going on after Mumbai. Again, there are some people you just don’t call allies. Clearly you disagree.
    “That argument assumes that the PA is a static organization incapable of learning, adapting and evolving, and not even the Indians would argue that.”
    Again I said doubts. My sources, which you are free to mock, have yet to prove me wrong during my time covering Pakistan. The ISPR on the other hand….
    “We can agree to disagree, but I would like to once more point out that just because Pakistani intel sources claimed certain HVT’s were killed does not make them dishonest – at worse it makes their intel suspect in those cases.”
    When it happens time & time again, and couple with other blatant, yes, lies, then yes, its dishonest. Surely you remember General Abbas tell us about how that fort in South Waziristan wasn’t taken then briefed on its glorious retaking, or how the company of troops weren’t captured, then we found out they were captured, yet he continued to insist they weren’t… there comes a point when a person and an organization loses credibility. When I couple this with what my sources, who have been dead on, have been telling me….
    “From what I understand, the decision to not allow media coverage in the warzone has been taken so as to not allow civilian casualties to be used as propaganda and allow the public and political support for the military operations to fall.”
    Whatever lets you sleep at night.
    “You are then calling your own top Military leadership liars and ‘dishonest’…”
    No, I disagree. Just as you and I do.
    I appreciate that you have no love lost for the Taliban and al Qaeda. If I thought you did, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. My advice moving forward is to pursue them relentlessly, no matter what happens with India. I’d wager the Indians didn’t suspend operations for its 20-odd insurgencies after Mumbai, particularly against the nastier one. Walking and chewing gum is a task we should all learn to master.
    Have you ever stopped to think that what happened after Mumbai was just what AQ & the Taliban wanted – for you to disengage the insurgency and focus on the eastern border. Because if I was in AQ-Taliban’s shoes, I’d try it again.

  • NS says:

    MZBH is the exact kind of person that Pakistan jihadi-military complex needs to believe in the fantasy tales that it spins.
    To say that Pakistan has not been trying/not tried to use Afghanistan for strategic depth against India, and that too on this site requires the kind of intellectual dishonesty that we have come to expect from Pakistan and its supporters.
    It kind of stops you cold – you dont even want to continue debating with such charlatans any more.
    MBZH, your ISI bombed the Indian embassy in Kabul last July and the US has intel on it. You dont have to thank me for delivering the news.
    //www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html
    Money Quote
    The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
    Concerns about the role played by Pakistani intelligence not only has strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, a longtime ally, but also has fanned tensions between Pakistan and its archrival, India

    So what exactly was the Pakistani state doing in July 2008 not fighting the terrorists ? Busy planning terror attacks, itself.
    After the intense pressure that the US has bought on Pakistan, and after having run out of any option but to confront the Taliban, the PA is suddenly waking up.
    Your concerns about India attacking Pakistan post Mumbai thankfully did not have any pretense of Pakistan having played no role in supporting the LeT morally, financially and infrastructure wise. Or have you guys given up even the need to pretend ?

  • MZBH says:

    Thank you for taking the time out for that discussion Mr. Roggio.
    While I continue to disagree with you on the contentious issues we touched upon here, I do have a better appreciation of where you come from and what colors your view of events in Pakistan and the Pakistani military.
    The exchange has changed my perceptions of you as just another ‘anti-Pakistani’, which you are not, despite the disagreements. Since we’ll just be going around in circles in pursuing the above contentious issues, I’ll stave off on further discourse until some more/new information comes to light, or some new contentious issue comes up.
    Cheers.

  • MZBH says:

    Bill Roggio:
    Actually after re-reading your last post I feel I do have to respond to some of the points you raised, since they do include arguments we have not covered.
    “It had everything to do with strategic depth. You government views jihadist as allies against the Indians. Dissemble all you like on this point, it couldn’t have been more clear what was going on after Mumbai. Again, there are some people you just don’t call allies. Clearly you disagree.”
    What was clear after Mumbai? That the Indians were strongly considering attacking Pakistan? Yes, that was clear, and sorry, but in a war initiated by India, the Indians are the major threat, not the Taliban and not AQ. And no, there are no limits on who to choose an ally in that situation. If the Taliban wanted to lay aside differences until the Indian threat was defeated, then all power to them and they are ‘patriots’, ‘heros’ whatever for that duration – we would have gone back to slugging it out after the Indian threat was neutralized.
    Pakistani national interest and national security comes first and foremost, and between Indian aggression and Taliban aggression, the Indians are the bigger threat and priority.
    Your point about the Indians fighting multiple insurgencies (none of which comes close to what either NATO or Pakistan are dealing with) is flawed since the Indians already possess huge advantages in both numerical and qualitative (equipment) superiority.
    Pakistan does not have that luxury.
    “Again I said doubts. My sources, which you are free to mock, have yet to prove me wrong during my time covering Pakistan.”
    Your ‘sources’ have offered nothing to substantiate the implied argument that the PA is incapable of learning, adapting and evolving, of which there is plenty of evidence, as you trace a line of PA performance from the Bajaur ops through Swat.
    The Musharraf era was marked with multiple embarrassments, as check posts and even forts were overrun in mass attacks by hundreds of Taliban. We have seen multiple similar attacks recently in Waziristan, yet the outcomes have been the opposite of those earlier encounters.
    When the PA/FC has been deployed to undertake a committed operation, as has been the case of late, it has come out trumps in almost every single engagement.
    “When it happens time & time again, and couple with other blatant, yes, lies, then yes, its dishonest. Surely you remember General Abbas tell us about how that fort in South Waziristan wasn’t taken then briefed on its glorious retaking, or how the company of troops weren’t captured, then we found out they were captured, yet he continued to insist they weren’t… there comes a point when a person and an organization loses credibility. When I couple this with what my sources, who have been dead on, have been telling me….”
    The Saklatoi fort was overrun the same day the Sararogha fort was, and Gen. Abbas admitted to the latter. I don’t see why he would lie about the former since he had already admitted failure. Call it ‘fog of war’ or a breakdown in communications or incorrect information, but his information may have indicated at the time that the fort was in PA/FC hands, though it wasn’t. Why lie about one and not the other?
    If his comments were deliberately distorted to save face, then he could have lied about both forts, and even better, he could have continued insisting the fort was under PA/FC control until it was retaken. Instead he admitted one and soon after admitted that the Saklatoi fort was lost as well and would be retaken. That does not sound like someone lying, it sounds like someone given the wrong information.
    But to paraphrase you, if it makes you sleep better at night concluding the worst about the PA …
    Both issues you raised, HVT and the fort, are easily explained by flawed intelligence/information, I do not see anything to validate you argument of ‘dishonesty’ from them.
    “No, I disagree. Just as you and I do.”
    You consider the views of your top military leadership, who have access to the entire massive intelligence and security apparatus of the US, as flawed, yet are willing to take the word of lower level intel sources over theirs.
    The senior US military leadership (and by extension US intelligence and military agencies, whose job it is to inform the senior leadership) is then either woefully informed and wrong or lying. Neither reflects well upon the US military, nor on your intelligence sources who are from the same intelligence agencies informing the senior military leadership.
    “Have you ever stopped to think that what happened after Mumbai was just what AQ & the Taliban wanted – for you to disengage the insurgency and focus on the eastern border. Because if I was in AQ-Taliban’s shoes, I’d try it again.”
    Yes, the motive behind the attacks has been argued over quite a bit, and the one you suggest is plausible. But even if that was the motive, and a similar attack takes place again for the same reason, and India one more considers military aggression against Pakistan, Pakistan will have no choice but to reorient once more – the Indians are the larger threat to Pakistan at that point.
    Whether Pakistan understands why terrorists attacked India is moot – Pakistan must be defended from India at that point.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    MZBH,
    One of the reasons I think this site has been successful is because we’re more than willing to buck the establishment view, be it that of the Pakistani or US military. For instance, in 2006, some senior leaders thought it was a great idea to cut the North Waziristan Accord. I thought it was a terrible idea, and so did the people I spoke with. So yes, there are times when I do think the US leadership is wrong in their assessments.
    I won’t belabor this discussion.
    NS’s points on Kabul\Mumbai\Lashkar-e-Taiba are spot on. Consider who conducted the Mumbai assault, where the support came from, and why people like Hafiz Saeed are still walking the street. I can’t say this enough. Allying with the people that brought Pakistan to the brink is madness no matter how you look at it. As is allowing this group to remain intact.
    A good idea would be to rip Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terror groups out by the roots rather than to support them and wait for them to conduct Mumbai II so you can ally with them.
    When you coddle LeT (and please don’t bring up the arrests and such, that has been well covered here, seven months after Mumbai and nothing substantive has happened on the Pakistan front) one does have to wonder what Pakistan’s priorities are.

  • T Ruth says:

    Junky:
    ” There is no need to give excuses on behalf of Talibans or Pakistans government. The men at helm of these affairs are either lunatic extremists or the most corrupt politician (President Zardari – previously labelled as Mr 10% by BBC and his cronies) and delusional army generals. The people have to face these dilemmas upfront. Its not only a problem for upper middle class but the economically deprived sector of population too. The realization is not afar that this religious extremism and the defunct political system cannot bring change in peoples life. We have to stop flirting with these retarded ideals.”
    ——————————————————–
    Junky, a round of applause for you! You come as a breath of fresh air and thank you for speaking up–getting real, straight talk followed by walking this talk is the only way out of this crisis.
    I am less interested in the no. of pak soldiers killed and their ratio to dead insurgents. I am more interested in the no. of Taliban leaders held and their ratio to the no. of people dislocated from their homes and lives, experiencing a living hell.
    As Junky rightly puts it, what lies at the root of it is the pervasive corruption and apparent delusions (the delusions are just a veil to cover their deceptive ways). As i understand it it is not just the politicians that are corrupt but also the judiciary, the police and the military.
    The corruption in the military is the stuff of notoriety. On a 2007 study The Guardian of the UK reported “The Pakistani military’s private business empire could be worth as much as £10bn, according to a ground-breaking study. Retired and serving officers run secretive industrial conglomerates, manufacture everything from cement to cornflakes, and own 12m acres [4.8m hectares] of public land, says Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy.” There is little or no transparency.
    Read more //www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/may/31/books.pakistan
    So when one battles with people like MZBH, one needs to keep in my mind that existing Pakistani standards of what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is not, even within a context of the culture of South Asia are different. This is not to say that the majority of the Pakistan people agree with it, let alone benefit from it. On the contrary the silent majority, including by default, their soldiers are subjected to it, day-in and day-out.
    The infamous National Reconciliation Ordinance of 2007, euphemistically named is designed to provide legal protection to the corrupt in power. Reconciliation, indeed.
    Lets turn now to a quick look at the World Corruption Rankings. According to WorldAudit.org while India and China share a similar rank at #57 (1 is best, the US is 17), Pakistan stands at a dismal 110. Its actually worse because Pakistan shares this ranking with 3 other countries( including Syria) as do others so it ranks much closer to the bottom #150, than appears at first glance. The World Bank Governance indicators similarly consistently rank Pakistan at the very bottom of the tables.
    Yes we know corruption is a global issue, but in Pakistan it is endemic, having pervaded the police, military and judiciary.
    So what effect can one expect on the psychology (heart and mind, if you prefer) of the foot soldier sent into battle? Not only is he being asked to kill his fellow citizens, may be shared ethnicity and a shared resentment from being ripped off over the years by those in power, including their generals.
    With context, hardly surprising that you have a high rate of defections. Knowing their vulnerability, its hardly surprising that the military has procrastinated in getting going. Given less than half a chance they turned their troops and ran to the the Indian border. As we’re all tuned in, we are aware that there is a serious risk of mutiny in the Pak Army. When integrity has been compromised systemically, over years and decades, anything can happen. It is a field of all possibilities.
    My point is this: corruption is like a cancer. Left unchecked, it kills–from within. Forgive me if i sound simple, but, you know what? I bet you that the bulk of the 2million internal refugees are also very simple people.

  • T Ruth says:

    Bill:
    “And after we’re told of the value of the peace agreements, how Baitullah is a “patriot” by a Corps Commander, how Mullah Fazlullah is a “local Taliban” not involved with the bigger movement, how Sufi Mohammed is a “moderate tribal leader”… I coudl go on. Shall I?”
    MZBH:
    A different situation for each one of those instances:
    1. Indian warmongering and a decision to close ranks and close the front in the West in case of Indian aggression post Mumbai
    —————————————————-
    Later, MZBH…”My comment has nothing to do with strategic depth.”
    Bill:
    “It had everything to do with strategic depth. You government views jihadist as allies against the Indians. Dissemble all you like on this point, it couldn’t have been more clear what was going on after Mumbai. Again, there are some people you just don’t call allies. Clearly you disagree.”
    ——————————————————-
    MZBH when you are ready to jump in and out of bed with “good” 😉 Taliban at will, as it suits the exigency, maybe you’re right……..maybe it isn’t strategic depth….maybe its just a “strategic death”. Take care!

  • Bill Roggio says:

    MZBH,
    On the reports from the battlezone, the Pakistani media has serious issues.
    From The News, an editorial: “No Taliban brass”:

    Daily updates from military spokesmen tell us of casualties on both sides and the location of some operations in the preceding twenty-four hours. They are never accompanied by contemporary footage, a map or any supporting documentation – NIC of some of the dead Taliban for instance. We are now 54 days into the Swat battle, with Dir and Buner still active combat zones and Waziristan moving into the foreground as the site of a major engagement. We are told that at least 1,400 militants have been killed alongside 120 of our own soldiers. There is never mention of civilian casualties – the ‘collateral damage’ – despite ample anecdotal evidence from IDPs that civilians have died as a result of the actions of our army. No independent verification of the figures delivered daily has been made, and the media – apart from some carefully choreographed reports from Mingora – are excluded from the battle. The numbers of Taliban dead seem improbably high given that they fight in less-than-platoon sized units and are highly mobile. ‘Hideouts’ are reportedly ‘cleared out’ everyday – but have we ever seen a picture of one of these ‘hideouts’ immediately after it was ‘cleared’? Does nobody in the military have access to a camera?

    Because there is no independent verification we – nor anybody else – are in a position to challenge the statements we receive daily, but there is one question that unless it is answered, and verifiably answered and soon, is going to mean that all this effort and death and displacement may be for naught. Simply – why have we not killed or captured a single member of the top brass of the Taliban? Unless the two vultures at the top of the tree – Baitullah Mehsud and Fazlullah of Swat – are taken down then the Taliban are going to live to fight another day. The usually-reliable blog ‘The long war’ reported several days ago that Fazlullah had decamped to Afghanistan. A commentator on a private TV channel speaking on June 18 doubted this for the simple reason that he would lose all credibility with his followers in Swat if he did/had. Of Mehsud there is not even ‘reliable rumour’ as to his whereabouts. Killing or capturing either is going to be dependent on electronic or human intelligence, as huge financial rewards have produced nothing thus far nor are likely to. Our best chance of snuffing the candle of either lies in the splits that appear to be opening in the Taliban ranks as the pressure mounts. Unless and until these men are caught or killed the war we fight now will continue for a year or even more. And when they are caught or killed we want to see them – dead or alive – because nothing less will satisfy.

    BTW, that “usually-reliable blog ‘The long war'” happens to be this website. I’ll take that as a compliment.

  • Junky says:

    Let reason prevail;
    After reading all the comments, I would like to point out to my country fellows like MZBH and Imran about Emile Zola. He exposed the military and religious hypocrisy in France through Dreyfus case. Please don’t defend few stupid people because they are not worth it. I think its not patriotic but foolishness and ignorance. The current state of Pakistan is due to our leadership (political, religious, and military). I don’t want to point out too many references but to quote few, I would like to point out the books by Brig. Z A Khan (‘the way it was’) and Gen Niazi (‘east Pakistan Crisis’). These books are from persons who were either directly involved in 1971 crisis or reviewed the gov. data relevant to Bangladesh separation (Gen Niazi has even mentioned the GHQ messages to eastern command in his book). Our leadership had failed us at that juncture and even now we are duped about the exaggerated role of India’s involvement. I am not saying that India was not involved but our leaders gave them the opportunity to aggravate the problems. Even now, India and other foreign players are manipulating the situation for their own interests but cest la vie 🙂 Pakistan or any other country will do the same under the given circumstances. get over it!
    Simply put, I think we should not make the same mistakes again. Crisis like these will help us make our country a better place but for that we need a rational approach and we cannot get that through putting all the blame on Indians or Americans or even Israelis (there are certain quarters in our pseudo-intellectual quarters who think that behind every crisis is Israel :=)). We had the Jihadi training camps in Kashmir (and if your memory is not right then remember those boxes in shops and certain mosques for money collection) but that was the policy of a certain era. The same thing is true for Talibans and Benazir Bhutto gov (his interior minister at that time commented these Talibans as his children) created them for swift exodus of 2 million refuges, for safe passage of oil and gas (Bill–don’t forget the role of Unocal- now merged with Chevron), for strategic depth and who knows for what. The idea at that time was so enticing that everyone went along but it was a disaster.
    Lastly, I think Bill, you should remember that there is a huge difference between the political and military elite, and the rest of 160 million people. I can tell you that now even the poor and illiterate street person is realizing this hypocrisy ( but very slowly). You should criticize the US gov too for giving these leaders a carte blanche. Benazir (now the enlightened leader after her death) came to US to beg for her political survival and removal of her cases by a Dictators gov. Her party’s opponent is also a clown . They are rich people who have never seen hunger or even a hungry person in their own presence. They live in better conditions than even most of the Americans and the money is paid by the US tax payers 🙂 (well through corruption) Atleast, US can spend more money on education and that can be a reward for decades of service we have done in the name of friendship. You have not seen the hunger and desperation in these people eyes. I think if you ask these suicide bombers and low level Talibans about heaven you will be amazed that for them the idea of heaven is living in luxury like living in a Malibu (stupid 16-17 years old kids. they are simply ignorant – and Talibans and these kids are mostly Pakistani’s). I am not saying completely because I am still mortified by the media’s attempt to show their uncircumcised penises to conjure up a foreign angle.
    ::: I am quoting a personal story (for all the audience). Two years ago an old guy from from one of the tribal region (adam khel) stopped me just near the Islamabad airport. He was 65 and he was standing on the road with his wife. I stopped the car and he said he just wanted a lift to a nearby place. My brother was sitting with me and he is fluent in pashto (i can only partially understand). The old guy had no money, both of his two sons were killed and he had to leave the area with his grandchildren and he had not eaten anything for a whole day to save some money. His wife started sobbing and believe me, the worst experience is to see a destitute hungry old women crying. He didn’t take the money from my brother because he was too proud for that. He was only looking for a job. I can never forget him. if he would have stayed in that place then who knows what might have happened to him and his family. Its not easy to judge the people in I damn care about these f***ed up Talibans, politician or generals. For me they are all the same (megalomaniacs, looking for power and their immortality through different means). If you still think that I am an indian guy pretending to be pakistani then I can’t reason.

  • Andrea says:

    I agree with KaneKaizer.
    Andrea
    Guadagnare online

  • NS says:

    Junky,
    I am Indian and all i can say to you is Good luck and God speed. Your story about the old woman and her independent husband is very moving.
    Unfortunately, the events leading up to the Partition and all the wars including the proxy ones have made it next to impossible for sanity to prevail between the two countries.
    But its your luck that you have a patient and understanding Indian PM to deal with for the next 5 years – he has so far resisted using the military option post Mumbai 11/26 attacks.
    Other than that, i dont know what else to say. Good luck again.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis