Why Pakistan will not mount new attacks on militants

January 21, 2010

With its announcement that it will launch no new offensives against the Taliban in 2010, Pakistan’s army appears to have opened a new innings in its favourite game with the West, says the BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad.

Pakistan Army troops prepare to leave for patrolling during a curfew in Bannu (October 2009)

Pakistan’s military thinks it has strong reasons not to attack the militants

For the United States, the statement by the Pakistan army could not have come at a worse time.
Its main intelligence agency, the CIA, is still coming to terms with the death of seven personnel in a suicide attack in Afghanistan by an al-Qaeda “double agent”.

That attack, the worst suffered by the agency in four decades, was apparently planned and carried out by Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Under pressure from the US, the Pakistan army launched an operation there in the main Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan in November 2009.

The army has since been able to secure that territory and push out the militants. Hillary Clinton wants Pakistan to target militants in Baluchistan. While some have been captured, most senior Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders have fled the region. Intelligence officials say they have now taken refuge either in other nearby tribal regions or the neighbouring Balochistan province.

Mission impossible

Top US officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have been calling for the military to go after the militants in these regions.

All this comes at a time when Pakistan’s government is already under a great deal of domestic criticism. This is mainly due to increased missile strikes by the US targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in the tribal areas. These have turned a sometimes ambivalent tribal population against the Pakistan military. Analysts say the tribesmen see the strikes, which have claimed more lives of civilians than of militants, as contiguous with the military operation.

But US officials have continued to press for more action, painting doomsday scenarios for Pakistan. The latest such warning comes from US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who said in India that al-Qaeda was planning to carry out attacks to provoke war with Pakistan. But the Pakistan military appears to have its own views on the subject, and their say is likely to count the most.
Pakistani troops hold their positions at a hilltop post in Shingwari, an area in the troubled Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan (Oct 2009)

Pakistani troops hold their positions on a hill top in South Waziristan. Their latest decision is likely to sends shivers through all Western capitals which have a stake in Afghanistan. For Washington, in particular, the military’s U-turn will have far-reaching consequences. Without Pakistani soldiers pressurising the Taliban in the tribal areas, it will be mission impossible for US forces in Afghanistan.

Diplomatic wrangling

Even with the additional 40,000 troops, it will not be possible to contain the insurgents. With 2010 already being called a defining moment in the current conflict, the military has risked the all-out ire of the US with its decision. But it appears to have thought out the move, given that it has gone public at a time when the US defence secretary is in Pakistan. The military believes it has strong reasons not to move against the militants.

Many senior military officials have been angered by what they see are recent moves by the US and the UK to expand India’s involvement in Afghanistan. They see this as being specifically targeted against Pakistani interests. There is also the matter of promised US aid to Pakistan, most of which has been delayed due to diplomatic wrangling.

US officials say much of the aid has been held up because of delays in processing visas for officials attached to the projects.
US army officer during exit a helicopter during an air assault operation on the town of Oshaky in Afghanistan
Without Pakistani offensives, will it be mission impossible for US forces?

But Pakistani intelligence officials say that many of these officials actually end up involved in activities “beyond their charter of duties”. In common parlance, its means the officials are seen as spies.

Extremely unhappy

The military’s decision has also put the Pakistan government, with which it has been at odds of late, in an embarrassing position.
The military’s unhappiness at the government stems from what it sees as its pandering to US demands at every turn. One example which intelligence officials quote at liberty, is the manner in which US special forces personnel are allowed to enter and move around Pakistan without being documented by immigration.

Officials say the military is extremely unhappy with the interior ministry on this count.
The shaky PPP-led government, for its part, is too busy rolling from one political crisis to another to really take this matter in hand.
On a more direct note, Pakistan’s military has also been demanding that the US give it more advanced helicopters and transfer its drone technology.

They say as the frontline state against the Taliban, such equipment is needed for greater success.
The US has, however, rejected these demands so far.




  1. Good, the gloves are off now ……. ! All the charade of Democracy aside, now the world knows who actually call the shots in Pakistan.

    The Americans must have seen this coming, and have their plans in place to deal with this.

    The game is getting interesting with every passing day … !

    • So @neel you know who calls the shots. Good.

      Its time to pull go hide under the balls of your jew masters, because the clock has started to tick and it will stop with “Greater Pakistan” …….

    No.No.Don’t twist.US and India,both have been taken by surprise.All your treacherous plans,have come down crashing.This is what is called :


    As for who is calling the shots,Deepak Kapoora’s statements are still fresh.

  3. One can expect that US will now try to offer a lollypop to Zardari government for ‘convincing’ it of a need for a new military operation by Pak army in FATA. Any new military operation is not in Pakistan’s national interest. Rather it is catastrophic for this nation. Killing our own citizens under pressure from foreign powers is not a policy at all. It is plain and simple capitulation. Grieved people then turn into terrorists to hit back, again to kill even more innocent Pakistanis. The issues faced by the occupation forces in Afghanistan must be addressed in Afghanistan. Expending the game of death and destruction in the region is beneficial only to foreign powers. But for Pakistanis, that is clearly not the right way to deal with the grim situation.

    The right way to address the problem is reconciliation in Afghanistan, removal of foreign interference, exit of occupation forces from that country, and reconstruction of devastated cities and towns. In the mean time, Pakistan should demand a full and immediate reimbursement of funds for the use of Pakistani facilities by the foreign forces. If they don’t heed to the demand, Pakistan should start placing heavy excise duty, transit and processing fees, and transportation charges on all non-weapon load. The transit facility for weapons should be banned altogether.

  4. Great timing!

    It is at time Pakistan start demanding somethibg back too. We almost completely ruined our country supporing Washington DC in their occupation of Afghanistan. There is absilutely no way we can sit back and watch the soil if Afghanistan being used by India to direct terrorism against Pakistan.

    Enogh is enough. Indian influence in Afghanistan must be tackled. The americans and NATO cant possibly believe Pakistan would just sit back and watch Indians run wild under their umbrella.

    Well guess what, this is exactly what we will do!

    At one side these Hindus are directing their anger aganist Pakistan and on the other side they talk about “Aman ki asha”.

    This summers hunting season could turn out to be interesting.



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