The recent military operation in North Waziristan has raised new analysis about the change in Pakistan governments’ position on Taliban and the stability of Pakistan. The conflict has gained regional importance after immigration of the North Waziristan residents to Afghanistan.
It is not the first time Pakistan Army is conducting operation and activities in tribal areas rather they have killed dozens of tribal leaders in the past through military operations and intelligence plots. They have provided war on terrorism as reason for military presence and activities in the area. But the commencement of Pakistan’s broad joint-military offensive named Operation Zarb-e-Azb in conjunction with Afghanistan election disputes, raises many unanswered questions.
Attempts for collaboration with Afghan government
Before the military operation in North Waziristan the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) established bases across the Durand line, besides the immigration of the residents of North Waziristan to Afghanistan have concerned Pakistan. Pakistan is worrying if the TTP falls in hands of Afghanistan or other foreign countries threats and challenges will increase. The latest attack on Karachi International Airport can be one of its examples. In such circumstances the regional intelligence can plan and implement such complex attacks.
After formation of Nawaz Sharif’s government and launch of military operation in North Waziristan Pakistan requested for Afghanistan assistance and coordination in war on TTP. Pakistan sent a delegation to Kabul after which President Hamid Karzai sent national security advisor Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta to Islamabad to discuss the operations and coordination in details.
After Islamabad visit Spanta told a press conference in Kabul that they had some conditions for Pakistan and they do not believe in what Pakistan says instead they will wait to see practical cooperation from Pakistan side. Mr. Spanta also criticized the involvement of Pakistan in the recent widespread attacks in Helmand province.
Pakistan having concerns from Afghanistan, India, US and NATO and in the meantime continues to shell eastern Afghanistan provinces, in the current critical conditions will play a major role in increasing distrust between the two countries.
Motives behind operation in North Waziristan
Pakistan has been facing risks and challenges from Waziristan in the past few years besides other reasons North Waziristan is one of the areas which threatens Pakistan’s stability. Therefore this was the core region for militants’ presence, Pakistani military and even US drones attacks and other military actions.
Forcing TTP under the leadership of Mullah Fazlullah and its separation by supporting Khan Sayed Sajna known as Khalid Mehsud and finally paving the way for negotiations with this group is also from the goals of the operation.
Fleeing of Taliban under the leadership of Mullah Mohammad Omar in 2001 from Afghanistan to Pakistan and fleeing of Pakistani Taliban under the leadership of Mullah Fazlullah in 2009 are to extent similar actions repeated in tribal areas.
Pakistan military operation critics say that the army is giving incorrect information to the general public and claims the killing of several militants including the Uzbek ones, while the foreign journalists are not allowed to go to the region and the main sacrifices are given by the residents, but now it seems that the operation will not achieve the goals Pakistan want.
Numerous regions of Pakistan are witness of existence of militant groups who are being used for regional purposes. In the past too, tribal people have been suppressed or used as tools for achieving regional goals especially in war against Soviet Union by US, Saudi Arabian and other intelligence agencies for proxy wars.
Following 2001 overthrow of Taliban regime and formation of transitional government in Kabul war against Afghan government has been managed from this region. But this time in contrary to Pakistan’s expectation this war also involved them. Pakistan’s government is now trying to protect Pakistan from these threats by taking complex intelligence measures.
Pakistan’s concerns over immigration to Afghanistan
Due to the intelligence conspiracy and imposed war on the people of North Waziristan around 500,000 residents have been displaced of which over 70,000 people migrated to Afghanistan side of supposed Durand Line.
Spreading of Polio was the concerned that was raised in the first stages of these immigrations. Besides, some Afghan media outlets also expressed concerns over arms with immigrants coming to Afghanistan. But despite all these concerns immigrants were warmly welcomed in Afghanistan and wide range of aid was distributed to them.
Though the Pakistan Army had set duration for residents to leave the area but had instructed them not to migrate to Afghanistan. Because it is hard for Pakistan to control these IDPs and migrants in the future and has many concerns over challenges that Pakistan might face. But still many residents of North Waziristan migrated to Afghan side of supposed Durand Line which might be lead to a major change in Pakistan in future.
By: Abdullah Elham Jamalzai