Army wins key battle but a difficult battle looms on the horizon.
The Pakistan Army has taken the key city of Mingora with surprising ease, as the majority of the militants have fled to the hills to live and fight another day.
The army’s military campaign which started nearly four weeks ago (and continues) is a well planned and well co-coordinated operation which has taken full advantage of the land and air assets available to it like SOFs, armour and long-range artillery, aviation helicopter gun ships and the Pakistan Air Force fighters for CAS.
The army and the FC, in the words of one commentator “are fighting with great élan, a war that has to be won – the Battle for Pakistan”. It is even more surprising that an army trained and tooled to fight a conventional war has adapted it self to fight a counter-insurgency which requires overrunning militant camps and hideouts located on the top of hills (Peochar),conducting search and clear operations in towns and villages, and urban warfare (house-to-house fighting esp. in Mingora). This speaks volumes about the Leadership of the Pakistan Army led by the soft-spoken but carry-a-big stick General Kiyani, and the DG of the FC, Maj-General Tariq Khan who has turned the FC into a fighting force to be reckoned with. Having said that a lot of hard work lies ahead.
The vigor and determination of the officers and jawans of the army can be gauged from the sacrifices and acts of heroism these brave soldiers are displaying on a daily basis. The sacrifice of the SSG men who overcame their captors before they were killed by the enemy in a cowardly fashion, the heroism of Major Abid Majeed, who put his life in the line-of-fire to rescue his injured jawans and so on. We are witnessing on our TV sets on a daily basis the burial of these brave souls who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we can sleep in comfort knowing that these “men are on the wall” defending the soul of Pakistan.
We can only be proud of our men and women in uniform!
The army is in the process of clearing the districts of Buner, Shangla, Upper & Lowe Dir and finally the main prize of this military operation, Swat valley with the liberation of Mingora. Mopping up operations is in progress to ensure that these areas are cleared and safe for the IDPs to return to their homes. Main roads are now in complete control of the army and FC and the enemy has been denied access. Pickets and check-posts are being set-up at all strategic locations with the objective of clear & hold.
The enemy has suffered heavily in comparison to the army. Their camps and hideouts have been overrun and destroyed with the help of the army aviation’s deadly cobra helicopter gun-ships and the use of PGMs (Precision guided munitions) by aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force with deadly results.
Make no mistake, the enemy is on the run but has not been defeated completely. More than likely they have escaped to the safer confines of Bajaur and N/S Waziristan. There the dreaded TTP leader waits in his liar with his 15,000 strong hard-core militants. There are reports that he is the source of supply of weapons, food and fuel for the militants who having been forced out from their camps and hideouts, are conducting hit & run tactics against army and relief convoys, check-posts and FOBs and will continue to do so till the enemy is completely defeated.
There is a thinking developing in the media that since the news of the operation in Waziristan has been leaked, the army may not undertake this operation anytime soon. If this is true then this will be a huge mistake on the part of the political and military leadership. A lot of hard work which has resulted in denial of “space to operate” in Swat and its adjoining districts will go to waste, not to mention the sacrifices made by our “Shaheeds” and “Ghazis”.
This war needs to be taken to its final conclusion which is Deter, Demoralize and Defeat the enemy especially the TTP which is now the biggest threat to Pakistan, its people and its armed forces. The military operations in Bajaur / N&S Waziristan are going to be much more difficult as the enemy will not give the army the luxury of fighting this battle on the army’s terms and conditions. Real COIN will happen here. The PAF will have to play a much larger role in this operation to destroy the enemy’s camps and hideouts. The militants would need to be flushed out from their mountain hideouts to the plains below so that the army can finish them off.
It is crystal clear, that the armed forces of our country are fully capable to defeat this enemy and the political leadership must give “Clear cut signal” to the military commanders to defeat this enemy at all costs.
God Bless Pakistan, its People and its Armed Forces!