North Waziristan Operation: Enough is Enough
By Sajjad Shaukat
During her visit to Islamabad in October, 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed with Pakistan’s stance, saying, “Now US is realising that launching new military operation in North Waziristan does not suit Pakistan’s situation.” Replying to a question that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was involved an assault on the US embassy in Kabul on September 13, 2011, she categorically pointed out, “We have no evidence.” She also requested for Pakistan’s help to “encourage Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith” including the Haqqani militants.
Afterwards, backing out from her statement, Ms. Clinton stated that it was urgent for Pakistan to act against the extremist Haqqani network, which she accused of anti-US attacks in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, some American top officials and their media again accused Pakistan-based Haqqani militants and ISI regarding the well-coordinated attacks in Afghanistan occurred on April 15, 2012, In this connection, during his visit to India and Afghanistan, while reviving US old blame game, on June 7, this year, US US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta allegedly singled out the Haqqani network, based in North Waziristan for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan in the 10-year war. He also said that the US would continue drone attacks on the safe havens Pakistan offered to insurgents in Afghanistan.
While wavering between fact and skepticism, both Hillary Clinton and Panetta repeatedly stated that Pakistan’s cooperation was critical to US efforts to stabilise Afghanistan before most foreign combat troops leave at the end of 2014.”
Since 9/11, US has been playing double game with Pakistan, sometimes praising Pak Army for successful military operations, sometimes ISI for capturing renowned Al Qaeda commanders, sometimes cajoling Islamabad with economic and military aid, sometimes claiming that US wants to improve its relationship with Pakistan, and sometimes reviving accusations regarding cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.
But at the same time, in connivance with India and Israel, America has been continuing its anti-Pakistan activities by supporting militancy in Pakistan through various subversive activities including sectarian and ethnic violence in the country. In this respect, American CIA, Indian secret agency RAW and Israeli Mossad have also been sending heavily-armed militants from Afghanistan’s side, which intermittently target the security check posts of Pakistan’s forces and other infrastructure of the areas, located near Afghan border.
For these hidden aims, especially, RAW has hired the services of many Indian Muslims. Posing themselves as militants, they have joined the ranks and files of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other extremist outfits.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik and top civil and military officials have repeatedly disclosed that training camps are presence in Afghanistan, and supply of arms and ammunition to the Baloch separatists and Pakistani Taliban keeps on going by the external elements as part of a conspiracy against Pakistan.
In fact, US duplicity with Islamabad is due a number of clandestine reasons. In this regard, first of all US-led NATO forces seek to make Pakistan a scapegoat of their defeat in Afghanistan, and want to pacify their public by raising false allegations against Pak Army and ISI. American President Obama also intends to win second tenure in the presidential election by shifting blame game of US misadventure in Afghanistan towards Islamabad.
Notably, Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. Hence, US India and Israel seem determined to weaken it.
Now, by setting aside the resolution of parliament, new rapprochement between Islamabad and Washington after the reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan in wake of public protests, and despite the opposition of civil and military leadership, without bothering for any internal backlash, drone attacks keep on going intermittently in North Waziristan in violation of country’s sovereignty. Even Americans do not think that drone attacks are counterproductive, resulting in more terrorism in Pakistan. The fresh wave of strikes by the pilotless aircraft has thwarted the offer of militants and Pakistani government for peace talks. And, the TTP has intensified subversive activities in the country. These aerial attacks are provoking the tribal people against Pakistan’s security forces, and increasing recruitment of insurgents.
As part of its anti-Pakistan plan, on September 7, US designated the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organisation. Besides, strikes by the CIA-operated unmanned aircraft have coincided with the statements of US top officials who have accelerated their pressure on Islamabad to launch joint military operations in North Waziriran. America which has always emphasised Pakistan to ‘do more’ against the militants has now focused North Waziristan. For this purpose, their media and high officials have started a well-organised campaign in the western countries that Haqqanis are the real terrorists who continuously targeting NATO installations in Afghanistan.
Initially, false reports had already started by the US media just after the meeting of DG ISI Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam with CIA Director David Petraeus. In this context, the Wall Street Journal pointed out on August 4, “the two spy chiefs agreed on joint counter terrorism campaigns and operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan…the campaigns would target the sanctuaries of Haqqani militant group in North Waziristan.” The Journal explained, “Pakistanis have named the planned offensive in North Waziristan as Operation, Tight Screw.”
In this connection, on August 15, US State Department spokeswoman also stated that the US was in talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan on joint action against Haqqani group. Besides, a recent report of The Telegraph, quoting the US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta said that “Pakistan military is planning to start an operation against militants in North Waziristan.”
It was due rumours spread by external media and also misfortunately by our internal political parties including media commentators that in the recent past, reports of military operation in North Waziristan caused a lot of panic among the majority of locals who began fleeing the area.
As a matter of fact, America seeks to compel Islamabad to launch military operation in North Waziristan so that in response, like TTP militants, Haqqanis must also conduct acts of sabotage in Pakistan. Another purpose is to create a rift between Pak Army on one side and the political and religious parties led by people on the other.
Taking cognisance of US intentions and baseless media reports, after his meeting with Gen. James N. Mattis, Commander US CENTCOM, on August 17, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani categorically dispelled the speculative reporting in foreign media regarding joint operations in North Waziristan. He reiterated, “We might, if necessary, undertake operations in NWA, in the timeframe of our choosing and requirements” as “determined only by our political and military requirements. It will never be a result of any outside pressure.”
In this respect, while stressing upon national unity, Gen. Kayani especially stated on June 9, 2011, “Any effort to create division among important institutions of the country is not in national interest…the people of Pakistan whose support the army has always considered vital for its operations against terrorists.”
Notably, on August 7, a military spokesman also rejected the report of the Wall Street Journal and other media speculations about joint operation (Tight Screw) in North Waziristan.
Nonetheless, while knowing the American real intensions, Gen. Kayani understands that enough is enough. Therefore, he has rejected US duress for military operation in North Waziristan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power