Conflict to Come

Even as Pakistan security and civilian leadership came to the investigated conclusion that the leadership of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), based in Afghanistan, and hostile foreign intelligence agencies were behind the March 26 suicide attack on Chinese engineers in Bisham, the Afghanistan government continued its inert role in resolving this brewing crisis.

Pakistan demanded the Afghan interim government arrest three alleged terrorists named Bakhtiar Shah, Qari Abdullah, and Khan Lala, along with TTP chief Noor Wali Mehsud, its Malakand Commander Azmatullah, and the entire leadership of the outlawed group, but to no avail. Given this lack of cooperation by the Afghan Taliban, it is not surprising to see Pakistani military agencies ramping up operations in the border region unilaterally. Seventeen terrorists were killed and another two were injured on Monday in two separate operations conducted by security forces in the Tank region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Meanwhile, in Peshawar’s Hassan Khel area, an intelligence-based operation on Sunday killed five terrorists and injured another three. Counting other operations this brings the total to 23 terrorists neutralised in the past few days.

Coupled with the sporadic cross-border exchange of fire with the Afghan Taliban, it is increasingly becoming clear that Pakistan will have to clear out militant elements from the border region unilaterally, and perhaps even conduct strikes inside Afghan territory to target TTP hideouts. This operation will not be easy, and once more we must prepare ourselves as a nation for the martyrdom of our brave soldiers in the line of duty. During the past few days, five soldiers fought gallantly against the terrorists and embraced martyrdom in the line of duty.

We must steel ourselves for the conflict to come; the diplomatic route has failed, and compromising on security is not an option. Our armed forces must push forward.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt