Waziristan op out, peace deals in

This should not come as a surprise to readers of The Long War Journal. From TIME:

But after initial promises to launch a ground offensive in South Waziristan, the Pakistanis have backed off.

A top Pakistani general, Nadeem Ahmed, recently said preparation for such an operation could take up to two months. Now, there will be no ground assault at all, according to a senior Pakistani politician known to have strong military ties; instead, the politician tells TIME, the military will try and buy off some TTP [Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan] factions through peace deals.

In May, I noted that the Pakistani Army had no plan to invade North and South Waziristan. In June, I noted that the Pakistani military was seeking to cut deals with Taliban leaders in North and South Waziristan despite tough talk about taking out Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan.

None of this should come as a surprise to US officials. The Pakistanis have a long history of conducting half-hearted operations in the tribal areas, then stopping short and cutting deals instead of finishing off the Taliban. Powerful elements within Pakistan’s military and intelligence services refuse to give up on the notion that the Taliban and other terror groups serve as ‘strategic depth’ against India and as a hold card in the event the US and NATO pull out of Afghanistan. As long as known terrorists like Abdullah Aziz (of Red Mosque fame) and Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed walk free and the military refuses to take the Taliban on head on in North and South Waziristan, Pakistan will remain a safe haven for al Qaeda, no matter how successful the AfPak strategy is in Afghanistan.

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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  • KaneKaizer says:

    The Pakistanis sign more peace deals as their own soldiers continue to be ambushed and bombed. Now, Hakeemullah has greater ambitions of conquering Pakistan than even Baitullah did. Do the Pakistanis really think the problem will just go away or fix itself?

  • T Ruth says:

    Zardari goes to London, shrugs his shoulders and confesses that they are simply not up to the job in W-stan. So Brown gives him a thousand million dollars. He and his generals laugh all the way to the bank.
    The pak govt and pak army do not comprise a leadership with a sense of urgency, anymore than a marathon game of chess. As long as the cash is flowing in, they will sacrifice some pawns and a castle, and remain in play.
    Their wait-and-see policy bluff will ultimately only be called if and when the US/NATO make it clear that there is no sanctity to the afpak border, just as every drone flight makes clear, but in its limited, though effective, way. Sooner or later, Pakistan will need to be told if you can’t do it, somebody else will.
    Of course India will be waiting and helpful in driving in some tactical nails into the strategic-depth coffin.
    This is not just a Long War its also a very inefficient one, as long as you are dancing with the devil and having to tip-toe around the devils feet!

  • Render says:

    Two months to prepare for an operation within their own country?
    The Hurricane Katrina crowd would never stand for that.

  • KW64 says:

    Render at 12:21
    Do they have Cindy Sheehan’s decrying Zardari’s ” rush to war”? Do they have musicians singing “all we are saying is give peace a chance”? One doesn’t really hear that much about internal Pakistani debate. The impression I have gotten is that the public was behind the push against the Taliban because of the Swat & Buner Taliban operations. Maybe the public will light a political fire under the reluctant politicians and army.


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