Fourth Time’s A Charm?

Pakistan Launches Waziristan Offensive

The Pakistani military launched a major ground offensive Saturday in the insurgent haven of South Waziristan, starting a much-awaited fight that could define the nation’s increasingly bloody domestic struggle against Islamist extremism.

Pakistani officials said nearly 30,000 troops were deployed in the Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold, from which militants have planned a two-week-long string of attacks against the nation’s formidable security forces.

The assaults have killed nearly 200 people and further destabilized a weak government that the United States has pressed to take a tougher stand against militancy. Now, with public alarm rising and winter snowfall approaching, Pakistani officials indicated they could wait no longer.

“There has to be consensus in the face of what is clearly now a war,” said Sherry Rehman, a ruling party lawmaker. “We have to treat this as a battle for Pakistan’s survival.”

The offensive is a gamble. Pakistani forces retreated after three previous, but far smaller, incursions into South Waziristan, an essentially ungoverned terrain of ridges and peaks that is unfamiliar to most except the tribes that live there. It is a potential vortex for the Pakistani army, which has been trained to battle archenemy India on the plains of the Punjab province, not conduct alpine counterinsurgency operations.

To succeed, experts on the insurgency said, the military will need to stunt the leadership of the feared Mehsud network of the Pakistani Taliban, which has regrouped since its chief was killed by a U.S. missile strike in August. The military will have to do that without alienating civilians in the area, they said, and before winter sets in. The operation is expected to last six to eight weeks, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, a military spokesman.

“The stakes for both sides are enormous,” said Bruce Hoffman, a counterinsurgency expert at Georgetown University. “The attacks of the past couple weeks demonstrate that the militants are really concerned . . . and that will have increased the ardor of the Pakistani forces to succeed. But it’s also an indication of why they can’t fail — the threat is already manifest.”

See also:
Pakistani Troops Attack Taliban in South Waziristan Stronghold
Pakistani Army begins Waziristan offensive
11 militants die in ground offensive against militants in S. Waziristan
The ground offensive
FACTBOX-The battle in Pakistan’s South Waziristan
Pakistan Troops Launch Offensive Against Taliban In Stronghold Of South Waziristan
Pakistani Military Launches Ground Offensive into South Waziristan
Pakistan sends 30,000 troops for all-out assault on Taliban
Pakistan Opens Offensive in a Militant Stronghold
Pakistan launches risky offensive into Taliban-Al Qaeda stronghold
Pakistan imposes curfew in South Waziristan
Eyewitness: At the edge of war
Thousands Flee Pakistan’s S. Waziristan Region
Pakistan Government Must Prepare for S. Waziristan Displacement Crisis, Says Amnesty International
Baitullah Mehsud Network, mother of all evils: ISPR spokesman

Three times previously the Pakistani Army has ventured forth into South Waziristan and three times previously they have settled for “making peace” with the Taliban. The Pakistan government and people have been burned by these “truces” all three times. There is no making peace with the Talkiban, the only solution is their utter destruction.

Until the Pakistan government physically cleans out and gains sovereign control over Waziristan and the northern tribal areas, the Taliban will be free to continue to plan and carry out attacks and al Qaeda will continue to have a safe haven. For the sake of some modicum of stability in the region, let’s all hope that this fourth time’s a charm and that the Pakistani Army is finally serious about crushing the Taliban threat once and for all.

/no hudna this time, all the marbles, total war, in it to win it, it’s not over until the entire Taliban senior leadership is captured or killed, their heads displayed on pikes would be an appropriate, well deserved fate for these pirates of civilization