By Dr Claude Rakisits
The four-month old military operation in North Waziristan – Operation Zarb-e-Azb – and the smaller, more recent one in the Khyber Agency – Operation Khyber-I – against the various militant groups holed up in those areas have been successful, but only in a limited way. While the military capability of the Tereek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the umbrella grouping for a large number of Pakistan-based militant organisations, has undoubtedly been degraded, many of the fighters have either fled across the border into Afghanistan, or they have found refuge in Pakistan’s urban centres, particularly in Karachi. So while in the short-term terrorism may have been held at bay, in the long-term Pakistan’s terrorism problem is far from being resolved.
According to official military sources, well over 1000 militants have been killed. And over a 100 tonnes of ammunition and explosives have been recovered. Of course, there is no independent source to confirm these figures. But what we can correctly assume is that apart from Mohammad Hassan, a senior TTP commander, none of the top commanders or militant leaders has been killed because had this happened their corpses would have been displayed by the military as war trophies.
But while none of the politically heavies has been captured or killed, the operations have undoubtedly disrupted the TTP’s network which it had established, especially in North Waziristan. As a result many of these fighters have had to flee across the border, where they have established safe havens. While this may be good news in the short-term, in that these terrorists have left Pakistani soil, in the long-term this is bad news for Pakistan in that the militants will have the opportunity to re-group and re-arm in order to cross back over into Pakistan in the future.
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