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Anyone from Pakistan here or who knows what's up?

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  • Anyone from Pakistan here or who knows what's up?

    Apparently, the war in Pashtunistan is getting FUBAR:

    ISLAMABAD: Military operations against militants have been a mixed bag of successes and setbacks; however no timeframe could be given with regard to the ongoing campaigns, sources in the military said.

    ‘It is a continual operation. It is not going to end in 2008 and it is not going to end in 2009. Don’t be optimistic, as far as the timeframe is concerned. It is a different ground and it will take some time’, military sources said in a media briefing here on Monday.

    These sources optimistic that Operation ‘Sherdil’ (Lion-Heart) was well on course to achieving its objective in gaining control of the Bajaur tribal region.

    The northern district of Swat was different story altogether where Operation Rah-i-Haq II had had its setbacks following the NWFP government’s peace agreements with militants in May, these sources said.

    In Bajaur, these sources said, the militants were putting up stiff resistance, better tactics and communication system, reinforcements and heavy weapons from across the border.

    The security forces have lost 69 men and suffered 230 casualties in Bajaur since the beginning of the operation in August.

    These sources declined to give a figure for militants casualties but said that their number was above six hundred.

    ‘Those who have been telling us to do more, we turn around and ask them to do more. Stop the reverse flow into Bajaur. It’s coming. Heavy weapons are coming. The militants are coming’, a security official said.

    ‘The militants are coming and their travel starts from Central Asia; they cover the entire track of Afghanistan. You are not stopping them and they are coming into our country.’

    ‘We are in touch with the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) to make sure that no movement takes place’, the military source said.

    These sources said that there was no doubt about the involvement of elements from across the border in the Bajaur fight.

    ‘People themselves saw two hundred men mostly carrying rocket launchers coming from Afghanistan to Pakistan. We have no doubt that they are supporting the fight in Bajaur’, they said.
    These sources were confident that despite stiff nature resistance, the operation would be taken to ‘its logical end.’

    They said that the military operation had been fully supported by tribal people in Bajaur.

    These sources described Bajaur as the ‘centre of gravity’ and ‘magnet’ of militant resistance with heavy presence of foreign militants.

    They said that while the Salarzai tribe had given their support to the military operation, Mamund tribe had ‘huge sensitivity’ as most of the Arabs had married their daughters and had settled there.

    But these sources were confident that Mamund too would take a cue from the Salarzais and rise up against militants.

    Quoting unconfirmed reports, these sources said that militant commander Faqir Muhammad had left Bajaur and taken sanctuary in neighbouring Mohmand, while Afghan Taliban commander, Qari Zaiur Rehman, who was leading one thousand men, had moved back to Afghanistan.’

    ‘If these reports are correct then it would increase our chances of success’, these sources said.

    ‘The situation is not as bad as it appears to be. If the operation in Bajaur succeeds and we are confident that it will then it will resolve many problems. It will have its ripple effects on other places’, the sources said.

    Operation Rah-i-Haq II in Swat

    These sources said the security forces had boxed militants in Swat in Matta and Beochar Area following Operation Rah-i-Haq I in November last year.

    But after the February elections, the ANP-led coalition government opted to give peace a chance and signed an agreement with militants, these sources said.

    ‘The intent of the provincial government was not wrong’, the sources said

    ‘But in our view that the peace agreement was not signed from the position of strength and it allowed the militants to regroup and reorganize’, these sources said. ‘The efforts of the military were compromised.’

    They said that the peace agreement led to the loss of public confidence and the law enforcement agencies did not only suffer heavy casualties but also delayed the clearance of Beochar and Biha Valleys.
    These sources insisted that the military operation would continue till Beochar was cleared and Swat was brought under full control and the advent of winters would have not cause any disruption.

    ‘The NWFP Government has allowed us to take the operation to its logical end’, the sources said.
    Rules of Engagements:

    The rules of engagements are absolutely clear, these sources said. Any presence of foreign intrusion in air or on ground ‘has to be engaged by troops on the ground’, these sources said.

    These sources were responding to questions regarding the September 3 Angor Adda incident in which, according to the military, forty to fifty U.S Special Operation Forces raided a village and killed 25 civilians including women and children.

    The problem with Predators, these sources said, was that they could not be detected by the Pakistani radar system.
    Information and Intelligence Sharing:

    The military sources said that militaries operating on both sides of the Pak Afghan border exchanged information but there was no intelligence sharing.

    ‘There is no intelligence sharing with field formations as such’, they said.

    Often the information called ‘actionable intelligence’ was outdated, the sources said.

    Difference of Approach with the US

    The sources made it clear that Pakistan military’s sequences of military operation did not tally with the U.S sequences of military operations.

    They said that the military would set its own priorities in view of its own limitations and capabilities.
    ‘We have deployed 101,700 forces and hundreds of vehicles and guns on the borders and it has affected our conventional capability’, the sources said.

    The Role of the ISI

    These sources denied Pakistan’s premier intelligence service —the Inter-Services Intelligence was operating independently and supporting some of the militant groups.
    ‘Eighty percent of officers in the ISI come from the same formations which are fighting in the tribal areas. Its unthinkable that these officers would be supporting these militant groups to get their own force killed’, the military sources said.

    They said that 1368 security personnel had been killed since 2001, while 3348 had been wounded.