Shocking: Pakistan again delays North Waziristan offensive

This month’s winner of the coveted Captain Louis Renault Award goes to Pakistan’s military, which again delayed the elusive offensive into North Waziristan. The Pakistani military claims it doesn’t have enough resources to throw at the problem, and it is miffed at President Obama’s visit to India. From The Telegraph:

But Pakistan military chiefs say they are unable to open a fresh front while they are still heavily committed to operations elsewhere in the country’s lawless border regions.

Barack Obama’s recent support for India’s UN bid has compounded Pakistan’s fears over its rival’s designs in Afghanistan.

“The main reason is that they would need about three divisions to be successful, and there would be political and terrorist attacks to deal with,” said a military official.

“How many more problems can Pakistan cope with?

“On top of that, Obama’s recent trip to India is rather unhelpful and has dampened any enthusiasm there might have been.”

Oddly enough, this report broke the day after General Petraeus said that Pakistan finally understands that North Waziristan is a real threat. From AFP:

The top US commander in Afghanistan said Tuesday that Pakistan recognised the need to take more action against insurgents in tribal regions from which they can attack Nato forces over the border.

“They recognise the need for more operations in North Waziristan,” General David Petraeus said at a university lecture in Paris in which he gave an update on the Nato alliance’s campaign to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Washington considers Pakistan’s tribal belt, which borders Afghanistan, an Al Qaida headquarters and the most dangerous place on earth, but Pakistan has resisted US demands for a ground offensive against insurgents there.

Petraeus said Pakistani security forces had “conducted very impressive counter-insurgency operations” but more needed to be done in the tribal belt, where US drones launch deadly attacks on suspected insurgent bases.

About those “impressive” counterinsurgency operations in South Waziristan….

For more than a year, we’ve been hearing that the Pakistani military is on the cusp of moving into North Waziristan. But Pakistani officials have been pushing the fiction of an ongoing stealth offensive in North Waziristan to stave off the US pressure.

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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  • Charu says:

    The song remains the same, and it is getting tiresome fast. Time to hurt the Pakistani military where it matters; their Swiss bank accounts and real estate in Dubai and UK, and in their industrial complexes and villas at home. Next, nothing gets their craw up as much as working with the Indians to punish them. And finally, supporting secessionist movements within one-at-a-time starting with Pashtunistan and working across to Baluchistan and Sindh if they continue to behave badly.

  • gerald says:

    The Pakistanis are dragging their feet because it is more profitable to do so. American presence=American money and lots of it. And as long as they can keep al Qeada as a force in being the gravy train will keep rolling.

  • David Eliezer says:

    A question, though — If we were finally to call Pakistan’s bluff, and send in our helicopters/troops/whatever into whereever we thought they ought to go in Pakistan, and they cut off
    our supply routes through Pakistan, who would break first? Our troops, for lack of supplies/ammunition or their Swiss bank accounts?
    Maybe our leaders are acting so cravenly because the Pakistanis have us over a barrel and they know it.
    At least until we can get the Russian supply line moving…

  • villiger says:

    NATO’s patience is already being tested, for some time now. Obama’s visit and declared support to India for a permanent seat in the Security Council was calculated to send a message to Pakistan.
    But Pakistan is playing too clever by half and has failed to read it. History shows that when one does that one self destructs. Its US money and moral support that is keeping this sick man of Asia from collapsing.
    And maybe a controlled implosion would be better after all for everyone. Bangladesh’s birth was an immaculate one. This time it won’t be as pretty, but it is as essential. I don’t see a way out and Pakistan is surely not leading the way out of this mess that the world, save China, is fast tiring of.
    Its a matter of time before the Pashtun and Baluchi tribal rugs are pulled from Pakistan’s feet.
    We won’t see these things being declared in the strategic review announcements next month but i’m confident that they are being factored in to Plan B and the longer-term strategy.
    Expect the heat to be turned up and closer cooperation being prepared with Russia and India. Look out for the timeline of Obama’s visit to Pakistan in 2011 if it materialises. That could be the last time an US president visits a country called Pakistan.

  • Mr T says:

    Hey ISI,
    Maybe you don’t realize it yet but we know you won’t do anything so we might as well start talking about having India do it with us and you will be the odd man out. It must be done by someone.
    Don’t you hate being outsmarted like that? What goes around comes around. Start doing what you need to do and you won’t have an India problem like that.

  • Chris says:

    I think Gerald is right on. As long as Pakistan can keep the bad guys in play, the more we will keep sending them money to “consider the time” to start operations against those same bad guys. How long will this go on? Years from now, books will be written about this and how it was a charade from the beginning.

  • Joe says:

    I don’t think we have any concrete info of where OBL, AA-Z, Haqqani, or Mullah Omar are located. An offensive into North Waziristan would be a huge risk. What happens if we go there and find nothing? Pakistan would surely cut off our supply line, and their limited cooperation would degrade even further. There would also be the possibility of a conventional ground war starting up, although I don’t think they would do this because it would stretch their forces thin, leaving them vulnerable on the border with India. I just don’t think its feasible to march in to North Waziristan. We would need a considerable amount of time to conduct operations; that is unless we had solid, undeniable intelligence. The militants could also just leave the area once we arrive, and without Pakistani cooperation, they would be able to move unhindered into other parts of Pakistan. All options, in regards to Pakistan, are high risk. I do think it would be in our best interest to support the creation of a Pashtun state, if not only for propoganda purposes, if the situation remains the same. If COIN does end up working, I hope Pakistan has no place in Afghanistan.

  • Caratacus10ad says:

    The main problem (in my view) is not really South Waziristan or even North Waziristan, it is really the shadow govts in both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia…
    i.e the people who use AQ (and all its forms) for their own political application of pressure on the state itself…
    Insurgencies are not insurgencies without either oil-money, construction money or drugs money.
    The rich elite of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the untouchables throwing fuel at the fire here!


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