‘Moral Force’ Defeated the TTP Militants
Within four months, clearing more than 80 percent areas in North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have almost defeated the ferocious militants of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by military operation Zarb-e-Azb which has rapidly been achieving its objectives.
Present different war between Pakistan’s Armed Forces and the TTP insurgents is simply a ‘clash of wills’ between two entities. Military thinkers agree that although the physical force will determine the type and scale of war, yet it is the ‘will to fight’ or ‘moral force’ that determines the outcome of war. Clausewitz puts it this way, “One might say that the physical force seems little more than the wooden hilt, while moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon” In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945″, Creveld identifies the elements of ‘moral force’, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die.” The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralization. ‘Moral force’, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent.
During the ongoing different in North Waziristan, retreat of the Taliban has proved that such elements like ‘will to fight’ and ‘moral force’ have been more noted in Pakistan’s Armed Forces who have exerted psychological impact of causing fear and shock, resulting into demoralization among the Taliban.
Taking cognizance of the recent terror-attacks, some media anchors and commentators misperceive that TTP militants have still capacity to continue subversive activities. In fact, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone and organized capability of terrorists to launch well thought-out attacks against the government assets. They have met serious setbacks in operation Zarb-e-Azb, and shall finally be totally eliminated from their safe havens in FATA and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan.
It appears, as if the militants of TTP have lost major grounds, and in severe frustration, they are trying to create some kind of so-called pressure on the government and the Armed Forces.
Division in TTP and fighting among the terrorists indicate that they have lost the ability to put up strong resistance.
It is mentionable that the Afghan government’s propaganda against Pakistan for supporting terrorists groups and militias in Afghanistan is totally unfounded and baseless. This simply shows the malicious mind-set of Afghan leadership which has become habitually ungrateful and ungracious.
It is notable that Afghanistan is responsible for terrorists’ penetration into Pakistan. Since April, 2011, some 200 to 400 heavily-armed militants from Afghanistan’s side entered Pakistan’s region, from time to time, and targeted the security check posts, civil and military infrastructure of the tribal areas. So far, these terrorists have killed several personnel of Pakistan’s security forces and innocent civilians.
However, the way the Afghan militants are challenging a highly professional Pak Army is enough to prove that with the tactical assistance of American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which have well-established their collective network in Afghanistan are fully backing these cross-border incursions with a view to destabilizing Pakistan which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.
While, Afghanistan has become a hub of anti-Pakistan activities from where these external secret agencies are also sending logistic support to Baloch separatist elements to dismember Pakistan in order to obtain the secret strategic designs of the US, India and Israel. Besides martyring several personnel of security agencies in Balochistan, these foreign-backed entities kidnapped and massacred many innocent people including teachers, lawyers, Hazara-Shias etc., and Chinese nationals.
In this context, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly lodged a strong protest with their counterparts in Afghanistan and NATO, saying that their forces were doing nothing to check insurgents’ activities, based in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. Afghan government also refused to hand over Maulvi Fazlullah, leader of TTP and other militants who have been conducting acts of sabotage in Pakistan.
As a matter of fact, Afghan government is supporting TTP and Baloch sub-nationalist elements on its soil; it has allowed the country to become centre of terrorism by providing space not only to terrorists, but also to hostile intelligence agencies including RAW to implement their nefarious agendas by abetting instability and terrorism in Pakistan.
Particularly, Afghan blame game could be judged from the fact that with the start of Pakistan’s military Operation Zarb-e-Azb against the insurgents in North Waziristan Agency, while playing in hands of external powers, Afghan authorities have accelerated their propaganda against Pak Army and spy agency ISI for supporting militancy, selective operations and cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. The narrative not only scapegoats Pakistan for all Afghan failures, but also portrays Pakistan’s security forces and intelligence agencies in bad light.
Nonetheless, the militants are demoralized to such an extent that they have lost majority of the innocent persons whom they were motivating for suicide missions. Now, threat of death has impact on them and they have deserted their comrades. Quick surrender and retreat of the insurgents from the war-affected areas of North Waziristan have endorsed this fact. While, there is a significant decline in motivation of suicide bombers because most of the Taliban have either been killed or fled their areas. No doubt, demoralization in the militants has increased pressure which has ultimately resulted in withdrawal of trained non-state attackers and suicide bombers from their mission.
However, there are various causes which demoralized the militants of North Waziristan. Firstly, high ‘moral force’ and ‘will to fight’ coupled with strong determination and cohesiveness as noted in Pakistan’s Armed Forces played a key role in ejecting Taliban out of their strongholds. In this respect, airstrikes by Pakistan Air Force eliminated the bomb-making and explosive-making factories of the Taliban insurgents. And during street to street fighting, without bothering for their lives, and by air-dropping commandos at the risky places, our forces made a great headway in disrupting the Taliban supply routes. They succeeded in disrupting the command and control structure of the TTP militants, and besieged them at various hotspots, rendering them unable to send reinforcements to their fighters. Secondly, morale of Pak Army is very high, as the entire intellectual and the non-intellectual citizens of the country have been fully backing the military operation. Thirdly, local people started denying the Taliban sanctuaries, and disrupted their links with each other. Fourthly, various middle and lower level ranks of TTP insurgents have become doubtful about the main cause they have been fighting for, and are now themselves apprehensive for massacring innocent Muslims in Pakistan through brutal acts like beheadings, decimation and suicide attacks. Fifthly, it is owing to these anti-Islam and other criminal acts like hostage-taking for ransom and forced demands that the general masses of their own local regions left their houses and fled, as more than 11 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) verify the atrocities of the Taliban. They have come to know that these terrorists have nothing to do with implementation of Islamic law. Terror, not Sharia is their real agenda which is in fact part of a foreign agenda to create lawlessness in Pakistan. Sixthly, every Pakistani knew the reality that these militant leaders have been recruiting teenagers and were motivating them for Jihad through false tactics of indoctrination and brainwashing. So they were misusing Jihad which does not allow suicide attacks in killing their own Muslim brethren.
Without any doubt, we can conclude that it is because the ‘moral force’ of Pakistan’s Armed Forces which have succeeded in defeating the Taliban militants in North Waziristan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations