‘Taliban presently lack capabilities to attack India’
Updated on Monday, November 02, 2009, 16:45 IST Tags:Pakistan, Taliban, Droneshttp://www.zeenews.com/zeeexclusive/200 ... 7news.html
Pakistan forces have launched an offensive in South Waziristan Agency against revived Pakistan Taliban. However, the offensive has failed to deter Pak Taliban from launching more terrorist attacks around the country. In an exclusive interview with Kamna Arora of Zeenews.com, Pakistan expert Syed Adnan Ali Shah Bukhari talks about the tumult in Pak and forces’ offensive against Taliban.
Syed Adnan Ali Shah Bukhari is an Associate Research Fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
Kamna: Is the anti-insurgency military offensive in Pakistan’s South Waziristan just an eye-wash or is Islamabad really determined this time to flush out terrorists?
Bukhari: Since early 2008, we have seen a firm resolve on the part of the Pakistani government to take-on the terrorists and eliminate them. It was for the first time in the history of the present day FATA that we are witnessing multiple military operations taking place across the length and breadth of the region. Pakistan’s present military offence against its local/Pakistani Taliban is even contrary to the previous policies of the former British Indian government (1857-1947) which pursued the strategy of subduing one tribe at one time while placating the other restive tribes and taking them on one by one over a course of time.
The current operation in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) is being pursued with the strong belief that SWA has become the headquarters of foreign and local terrorists and until the semi-sanctuaries of these terrorists are not eliminated, the wave of terrorist violence in the entire Pakistan cannot be brought down.
However, there are many factors that could shape the success or otherwise of the present military operation in SWA. Firstly, any major political instability in the country could derail the focus on the ongoing military operation. Secondly, the evolving external security environment around Pakistan could also factor into the success of the operations. The recent suicide attack in Iran, for example, and the evolving terrorist links between Jundullah and Pakistani terrorist groups, such as the sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ), Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al Qaeda (AQ), could be a deviation that could affect Pakistan’s focus on the drive against terrorists in FATA.
Thirdly, the cooperation of the Pakistan civil society in eliminating Taliban militants could be a major factor. Their support is crucial in eliminating the Taliban since they could provide the much-needed human intelligence (HUMINT) to root out militancy from the entire region. Fourthly, the Taliban is a cross-border phenomenon, and the Taliban in Afghanistan are growing in strength with every passing year. In 2007, the Afghan Taliban were maintaining permanent presence over 54 percent of the Afghan territory, which increased to 72 percent in 2008. In 2009, the Taliban’s presence further increased to 80 percent, with violence reaching up to the northern and western parts of the insurgency-torn country. The Pak-Afghan border is porous, and the Pakistani Taliban may sneak into Afghanistan if they come under extreme pressure from the Pakistani security forces. While Pakistan has deployed 120,000 troops on the border, there are few soldiers on the Afghan side their number needs to be increased. Unless, the Afghan Taliban are eliminated and Afghanistan stabilised, we may see the presence of Pakistani Taliban, albeit weak, in FATA.