Pakistani military claims 257 ‘terrorists,’ no civilians killed in North Waziristan offensive

Click to view Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan in a larger map.

The Pakistani military has claimed that more than 250 “terrorists” and zero civilians have been killed during the first week of military operations in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

According to press releases published between June 15-21 on the website of the Inter-Services Public Relations, the public affairs arm of the Pakistani military, 257 “foreign and local terrorists,” “Uzbek foreigners,” “foreigners,” and “ETIM terrorists,” a reference to the Turkistan Islamic Party, a Central Asia terror group, have been killed.

The military states that no civilians have been killed in the weeklong operation, a stunning claim given the historical lack of precision by Pakistani attack helicopters and strike aircraft, and the environment in which groups such as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and other jihadist groups are operating. These groups often live in compounds that include women and children.

The Pakistani government has not identified a single “terrorist” killed in the weeklong operation, which has used “precise and targeted air strikes” from attack helicopters and fighter-bombers against “hardcore Terrorists hideouts.” The Pakistani military’s claims are impossible to corroborate, as the media is forbidden from reporting from North Waziristan during the operation. The Pakistani media has repeated the military’s claims uncritically.

The largest airstrike, on June 15, supposedly killed 140 “terrorists” and zero civilians.

“Most of those killed are Uzbeks,” a reference to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the press release continues. “Many ETIM [Turkistan Islamic Party] terrorists and their affiliates have also been killed in the strikes. It was a massive blow to the terrorists and one of their main communication centre has been dismantled.”

Another 25 “foreign and local terrorists were killed” in airstrikes that targeted “Terrorist’s [sic] hideouts including a training camp and an IED making factory around Hasokhel.” Again, no civilians were reported killed.

In the past, such airstrikes on large gatherings, compounds, and camps by US drones have resulted in civilian casualties. The remotely piloted drones are far more accurate than Pakistani strike aircraft, and often hover over targets for hours or days to gather intelligence before striking.

The Pakistani government has yet to to publicly identify the exact target of the operation. None of the military’s statements released so far name the Haqqani Network or Hafiz Gul Bahadar’s Taliban groups as targets of the operations. These two groups, despite sheltering and supporting al Qaeda, IMU, TIP, and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, are considered “good Taliban” by political and military officials as they do not advocate attacking the Pakistani state. [See LWJ report, Pakistan launches ‘comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists’ in North Waziristan, and Threat Matrix report, Pakistani forces focus on ‘foreigners’ in North Waziristan operation, for more detail on the operation and “good Taliban” vs. “bad Taliban”.]

ISPR press releases:

June 15, 2014

June 16, 2014

June 17, 2012

June 19, 2014

June 20, 2014

June 21, 2014

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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  • Jeff Edelman says:

    They may be civilians, but at the same time they are also collaborators, enablers, abettors, support personnel and supporters. If they weren’t supporters, it’s a safe bet they wouldn’t have heads.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    The only thing the Pakistani army is good at is lying, but even that won’t fool the west. The west have more brain cells and intelligence than the Pakistani establishment put together.

  • IDPs fleeing report civilians killed in air strikes over recent days. Also civilians have died fleeing the area no transport, food or water available for some, adults of heat exhaustion and children from diahorrea, one woman gave birth on roadside. Friend waiting to assist in Bannu reported camp empty as IDPs afraid of army.. locals helping out but they dont have adequate food for new arrivals. Some in Khost burning Pakistani flag
    TTP leadership allegedly had intel of operation a few days in advance so had already gone over border before sealed.
    Article from Ihsan gives accurate picture he know area and situation very well…

  • Lyingpakis says:

    Yeah of course and American drones only kill civilians and no terrorist.
    Typical pak establishment trying to fool their public and show off as heros when in reality they rely heavily on American intelligence ie drones

  • George Kominiak says:

    In some sectors of the population, all that’s required is a press report/release and/or Web posting and it must be true. Except when the words come from the USDoD…

  • pre-Boomer Marine brat says:

    Will Imran Khan be saying that Rawalpindi’s causing civilian deaths?
    (Jeez, why’s everyone rolling around on the floor, laughing.)
    Today’s press says nothing about it. He’s just asking for money.

  • DockyWocky says:

    Whoever came out with this announcement is a genius. Instead of toting up casualties the politically correct way, he just put them all in the “Terrorist” category – something the US should have been doing from Day One.

  • Aezino says:

    We can take the actions Carol Anne Grayson & the words of George Kominiak as proof that if the progressives get their way excoriating the U.S (DoD) at every turn and being ineffective against all other combatants that the world will burn.

  • Joy says:

    This is a quintessential pakistan anti insurgent operation..the target groups get conveyed area of operation so they can disappear out of the area well in time, pak army shells the now voluntarily cleansed of terrorist area indiscriminately.
    ….everyone dead is a terrorist killed…pak army claims huge victory and go back to barracks tom toming what a fine army they are.
    The target group quitely returns back to the area.
    During the period of operation the targetted bad group had been the guest of non-targetted good groups – stay and security gauranteed by the latter.
    All is good and the whole game repeats itself every couple of years are so.


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