Mechanized troops patrolling outside the cordoned area in North Waziristan Agency

July 25, 2014

Gauging the Success of Pakistan's North Waziristan Operation

Mechanized troops patrolling outside the cordoned area in North Waziristan Agency. (ispr.gov.pk)

The Pakistani military launched its long-overdue offensive against militants in North Waziristan on June 15 with much fanfare. Public support for the operation, titled Operation Zarb-e-Azb, remains high, with many people in Pakistan believing this to be the operation to end all operations. The Pakistan Army touted the fight as Pakistan’s own, as opposed to one undertaken at the behest of the U.S., and as one being prosecuted against militants of all stripes, both foreign and domestic. If the hype is to be believed, the Pakistani military offensive in North Waziristan is in the process of striking a crippling blow against militants operating in the region, particularly the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its foreign allies such as al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

While there have surely been successes so far—and the mere fact that the operation is taking place at all is a marked improvement over Pakistan’s previous policy of allowing one of the world’s most dangerous militant safe havens to fester unmolested—the reality on the ground appears somewhat less optimistic. The ground phase of the operation in North Waziristan is progressing at a cautious pace; most militants fled the main combat zones far in advance of the operation; the government is facing a humanitarian crisis on a scale it is grossly underprepared for; and Pakistani policies of favoritism toward certain militant groups do not appear to have changed. Whether Pakistan has learned from the lessons of its previous military operations and is prepared to do what’s necessary to make its gains in North Waziristan permanent, remains to be seen.

 

The Progress So Far

Pakistani military aircraft began Operation Zarb-e-Azb on June 15 with a series of punishing airstrikes on militant strongholds in the Mir Ali, Degan, and Boya areas of the district.[1] The Pakistan Army, which has long maintained a garrison in the militant havens of Mir Ali and Miram Shah, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency, finally deployed its troops outside the protective walls of its bases en masse and surrounded both towns in an attempt to prevent militants from fleeing the area.[2] The military imposed a curfew on the Agency, preventing the civilian population from fleeing, fearing that an exodus would allow militants to flee the conflict zone hidden among internally displaced persons (IDPs).[3] While airstrikes continued to hit suspected militant hideouts for several days, primarily in and around Miram Shah and Mir Ali—the military claimed to have killed over 280 militants in the first week and inflicted no civilian casualties—no major ground action had taken place thus far.[4]  

On June 18, four days after the operation commenced, the military loosened the curfew on North Waziristan in order to allow civilians to evacuate prior to the commencement of ground operations in the Agency’s main urban areas.[5] The easing of the curfew set off a flood of people clamoring to flee North Waziristan. Nearly 30,000 people fled the Agency on the first day and, by the time the military finally launched the ground phase of its operation on June 30, the number of registered IDPs had reached over 450,000.[6] The number is even higher when counting the dozens of thousands that fled west to Afghanistan instead of east, where the Pakistani government has established camps for IDPs.[7]

The mass evacuation of local populations prior to the start of military operations is now a well-established facet of Pakistani counterinsurgency doctrine.[8] The army prefers to fight in environments devoid of civilians since it frequently employs heavy arms including bombers, artillery and armor in support of infantry forces moving through urban areas.[9] The evacuation of civilians was also undertaken prior to the start of major operations of a similar scale in the Swat valley and South Waziristan Agency in 2009.[10]

When ground troops finally joined the fray in earnest on June 30, their primary tasking was to collapse back onto Miram Shah, the town they had deployed from, and conduct a systematic sweep of the town for lingering militants, booby traps, and enemy infrastructure.[11] Sporadic clashes continued with militants attempting to plant improvised explosive devices (IEDs), or to flee the security cordons around Miram Shah and Mir Ali, but the primary action that took place elsewhere in North Waziristan while troops cleared Miram Shah continued to be airstrikes by jets and helicopter gunships on suspected militant locations.[12]

On July 9, the army claimed it had cleared about 80 percent of Miram Shah and discovered numerous IED factories, suicide bomber training schools, militant training camps, arms and ammunition caches, militant literature, and evidence of al Qaeda’s presence in the area.[13] On a media field trip to Miram Shah, reporters were able to tour the town, explore training camps and visit a market for suicide bomb vests school that appeared to be have been frequented by both the Haqqani Network and Pakistani militants.[14]

What the army had not encountered up until this point was any major concentrations of enemy fighters or senior TTP leaders. On July 14, Pakistani officials claimed they had arrested senior TTP leader Adnan Rashid, along with an unnamed al Qaeda bomb-maker and trainer.[15] Rashid is famous for being broken out of jail in 2012 and later heading the TTP’s notorious jailbreak unit. Pakistani officials later disavowed reports of Rashid’s arrest and said that, while the al Qaeda operative was in custody, Rashid remained at-large.[16] Even so, the arrest of the al Qaeda operative took place in Shakai, South Waziristan, far away from the fighting in North Waziristan.[17]

On July 14, the army finally launched ground operations into Mir Ali to clear the town in similar fashion to Miram Shah.[18] Mir Ali, too, seemed to have only a residual militant presence but was awash with the remains of militant bomb factories and arms caches.[19] On July 19, 35 days after the operation commenced, the army finally gave some indication that ground forces were advancing beyond just Miram Shah and Mir Ali and towards areas where a large number of militants are believed to have fled; ground forces began clearing and consolidating control over the previously militant-controlled towns of Boya and Degan in Datta Khel sub-district, some 12 miles west of Miram Shah.[20] To-date, the army claims to have killed over 500 militants over the course of nearly six weeks of fighting, without inflicting any civilian casualties and while suffering the loss of fewer than 30 of its own men.[21] The number of IDPs the government has registered thus far has exceeded one million, however.[22]

 

Gains and Losses

While a full assessment of Operation Zarb-e-Azb’s effectiveness should be reserved for when hostilities conclude, a preliminary appraisal highlights some successes and more than a few notes of caution. The army has gained praise for finally launching an operation that previous governments and military chiefs had been loath to undertake.[23] It claims it has killed over 500 enemy fighters, including many from the al Qaeda-affiliated IMU and East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).[24] Ground operations in Miram Shah and Mir Ali, and airstrikes across the Agency, have robbed militants of numerous safe houses and bolt holes. The TTP and its allies, including the Haqqani Network, will lament the loss of the fairly sophisticated physical terror infrastructure they enjoyed in North Waziristan that included formal bomb-making factories and bomber-training academies, elaborate tunnel networks, and arms markets.[25]

A second order benefit of the churn the operation has created has been exposing numerous militants who had gone to ground who might otherwise become the targets of U.S. drone strikes. During the course of the operation, and in the days immediately preceding it, there have been at least five U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan, a much higher rate of activity than has been experienced for many months, even taking into account a long pause in the Pakistan drone program for most of the first half of 2014.[26] On July 11, a drone strike in Datta Khel killed at least six "mid-level" al Qaeda operatives, connected to a senior member of the group's “Victory Committee,” operating out of Syria.[27]

On the other hand, there appear to be enough reasons to temper an optimistic view of the operation. As was mentioned earlier, the vast majority of militants active in North Waziristan appear to have left the region long before the operation began; thus, the human networks that form the core strength of the militant movement in Pakistan remain largely undamaged.[28] Safe houses can be moved and physical infrastructure rebuilt. The TTP was ejected from its strongholds and ancestral homeland in the Mehsud tribal areas of South Waziristan in 2009 and was able to reconstitute itself before long in neighboring North Waziristan. While it will surely lose some capacity in being forced to move wholesale once again, the TTP will not undergo any shocks it has not endured and overcome in the past.

The TTP and its allies appear to have moved into the further reaches of western and southwestern North Waziristan, into areas such as the Shawal Valley that are far more prohibitive for conventional forces to operate in, or then to areas such as Datta Khel sub-district, home to the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Taliban faction with which the Pakistani government has maintained a long-standing truce.[29] The army has yet to demonstrate that it will move deep into Bahadur’s heartland and fight his men in order to hunt down fleeing TTP, IMU and al Qaeda fighters. Many militants have also fled further west into Afghanistan, where the Pakistani government will not be able to reach them. The government has frequently requested that the Afghan government seal the border and take action against TTP militants that are based on its territory, including the group’s overall leader, Mullah Fazlullah. The Afghan government does not have the attention bandwidth or military capacity, given its own election crisis and ongoing insurgency, to deal with such requests. Nor, frankly, does it have the willingness to help Pakistan when its own entreaties for Pakistani authorities to crack down on Afghan Taliban militants sheltering in Pakistan, particularly the North Waziristan-based Haqqani Network, have been ignored for years.[30] After much pleading, Afghan and Pakistani authorities have finally begun formally negotiating the conditions under which they would provide each other with security assistance, but any actual agreement or support seems a long way off.[31]

The Haqqani Network’s fate is another minus mark on the Pakistani score sheet. Despite several statements from senior military and government officials that the army would not discriminate between militant groups and some explicit declarations that Haqqani Network fighters would be targeted wherever encountered, Pakistan appears not to have broken from its old policy of supporting the Haqqani Network as a proxy in Afghanistan. Several press reports claim that the Haqqanis were tipped off to the start of the operation and allowed to leave North Waziristan unmolested before hostilities began.[32] The fact that no Haqqani fighters have been killed or captured over the course of the operation only reinforces this impression.  Whether the Haqqanis reappear in North Waziristan after the operation is concluded, or receive Pakistani help in establishing new strongholds elsewhere in the country, will determine whether or not Pakistan is sincere in claiming its desire to target all militant groups; given the long history of Pakistani support to the Haqqani Network, the burden of proof lies squarely on Pakistan.

 

Hearts, Minds and Ultimate Success

Finally, the critical humanitarian situation Operation Zarb-e-Azb has created merits mention because it is likely to have a direct bearing on the offensive’s chance of ultimate success—the successful repatriation of a sympathetic local population is the primary means for inoculating North Waziristan against militant attempts to re-infiltrate the area.

The one million IDPs that have fled the conflict zone in North Waziristan have far exceeded projections.[33] The American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project’s own estimates  put North Waziristan’s population at around half a million people, after accounting for increases in Pakistan’s population since its last census in 1998, which tallied North Waziristan’s population at 361,246.[34]

The one million displaced have mostly clustered in neighboring Bannu district, where the government has established a camp for IDPs.[35] Only a fraction of IDPs have chosen to stay at government facilities, however.[36] Some fear reprisals by the Taliban which has warned locals against engaging with the government, while others are frustrated or angry at the government’s prosecution of the operation and the alleged lack of support it has shown for IDPs’ plight.[37] Many IDPs claim facilities established for them are inadequate, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) report that the government has also made it difficult for them to get involved in the aid process.[38]

Provincial governments in Sindh and Balochistan have also been less than welcoming to the displaced, declaring that IDPs will not be allowed across provincial borders without proper registration and screening.[39] The Sindh government in particular sees IDPs from North Waziristan as trouble not just because they fear militants will infiltrate the main city of Karachi in the IDPs’ midst, but because it believes they will have a destabilizing effect on the city’s precarious ethnic balance.[40] The federal government has admitted it has had a harder time generating sympathy and support for the IDPs among the population at-large than it did following major natural disasters in 2005 and 2010, some of which may be attributed to donor fatigue after multiple years spent sheltering and feeding IDPs affected by weather and war.[41]

Other IDPs, meanwhile, accuse the military of bombing civilian targets and covering up the truth by labeling the dead as militants. One such airstrike in the Shawal Valley on July 16 killed 35 militants, according to government and military spokesmen, but multiple sources reported after the fact that the dead were all civilians, mostly women and children, who were in their homes because the government assured them their area was not at risk of bombardment.[42] One military official seemed to indicate that Pakistani military policy was to treat civilians who refused to evacuate or distance themselves from militants as legitimate collateral damage.[43] 

The key factor cementing success in the Pakistan Army’s operation in the Swat Valley in 2009 was the rapid repatriation of over 2.5 million locals who were displaced prior to the operation’s start.[44] The military made winning hearts and minds in Swat a priority and later availed the help of a sympathetic local population that became an informant base for the government upon returning home. Swat, as a result, continues to be relatively militant free despite several attempts by the TTP to re-infiltrate its old stronghold there. The operation in South Waziristan proved much less successful over the long term because the government failed to win over or adequately repatriate a brutalized and skeptical local population; much of South Waziristan has once again become a permissive environment for the TTP and its allies.

The population of North Waziristan has lived under de facto Taliban control for over a decade and is deeply distrustful of the government; many from North Waziristan attribute their suffering to both their local militant overlords and the government’s unsympathetic actions. The experiences of this latest crop of IDPs have done little to improve their view of the government so far. If the government is to improve upon the results from South Waziristan in 2009, it will need to act far more diligently with regards to IDPs from North Waziristan. The local population, if and when it is repatriated, holds the greatest ability to prevent the Taliban from taking root in the region again; if the government and military are to avoid squandering that resource, they would do well to improve upon their current efforts.

 

North Waziristan Is Not the End

The euphoria that Pakistan is finally engaged in operations against militants in North Waziristan, the hub of so many domestic, regional, and international terrorist plots over the years (including against the U.S. homeland), is understandable. The North Waziristan operation will not be the end of terrorism in Pakistan, let alone the region, however. In the years that the haven was ignored, militants based there, including the TTP, al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, and their domestic and regional allies, have spread, diversified and strengthened their networks.[45] The TTP’s umbrella network extends far beyond North Waziristan, and includes powerful factions in other agencies of Pakistan’s tribal areas such as Mohmand, inside Kunar and Nuristan provinces in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan’s urban metropolises such as Karachi.[46] The TTP will suffer the loss of its North Waziristan base, but it will survive it. The group’s human network has been largely unaffected by the offensive, and will bounce back quickly if it is not continuously pursued from haven to haven or killed outright—a difficult outcome to achieve. The TTP and its allies gain strength from their cooperation with other major militant groups such as the Haqqani Network, which Pakistan still appears unable to spurn.

Unless the government is prepared to hunt the TTP in all its strongholds on a recurring basis, break its relations with groups it sees as allies but which also facilitate its enemies, or prosecute operations such as the one in North Waziristan to their logical conclusions (including a fully-fledged, hearts-and-minds focused post-conflict phase), any gains from Operation Zarb-e-Azb will be temporary at best. The operation is far from over; while some success can be recorded, course correction appears necessary at this time.

 
[1] “Press Release: No PR125/2014-ISPR,” Inter Service Public Relations, June 15, 2014. Available: https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=2573
“Mostly Uzbeks killed in overnight North Waziristan bombing: army,” Dawn, June 15, 2014.  Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1112875/mostly-uzbeks-killed-in-overnight-n-waziristan-bombing-army
“Karachi airport attack mastermind killed in North Waziristan,” Dawn, June 15, 2014.  Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1112901/karachi-airport-attack-mastermind-killed-in-n-waziristan-sources
“Press Release: No PR123/2014-ISPR,” Inter Service Public Relations, June 15, 2014. Available: https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=2573
“Press Release: No PR125/2014-ISPR,” Inter Service Public Relations, June 15, 2014. Available: https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=2573
Masterminds of Karachi airport attack also killed in NWA bombings,” The News, June 15, 2014. Available: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-150822-Masterminds-of-Karachi-airport-attack-also-killed-in-NWA-bombings
[2] All-out military operation launched in North Waziristan,” Dawn, June 16, 2014. Available: http://epaper.dawn.com/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=16_06_2014_001_006 
“IDPs from NWA refuse to stay in FR Bannu Camp,” The News, June, 15, 2014.  Available: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-7-256088-IDPs-from-NWA-refuse-to-stay-in-FR-Bannu-camp
“Operation Zarb-i-Azb: Sindh ready to face terrorist backlash,” Dawn, June 15, 2014. Available here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1112999/operation-zarb-i-azb-sindh-ready-to-face-terrorist-backlash
Based on author’s continuous tracking of Pakistan Army force presence in North Waziristan and conversations with Pakistani military officials, 2009-present.
[3] Masterminds of Karachi airport attack also killed in NWA bombings,” The News, June 15, 2014. Available: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-150822-Masterminds-of-Karachi-airport-attack-also-killed-in-NWA-bombings
[4] “Helicopters pound terrorist hideouts, killing 30 in NWA, Khyber,” The News, June 21, 2014. Available: http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-151434-30-more-terrorists-killed-as-helicopters-pound-hideouts-in-NWA,-Khyber-
“Pakistan army in for long haul in offensive against Taliban,” Reuters, June 18, 2014. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/17/pakistan-airstrikes-offensive-idINKBN0ES35W20140617
[5] “30,000 flee as curfew eased in some areas, Dawn, June 19, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1113681/30000-flee-as-curfew-eased-in-some-areas
[6] “30,000 flee as curfew eased in some areas, Dawn, June 19, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1113681/30000-flee-as-curfew-eased-in-some-areas
“People told to leave NWA as land assault looms,” Dawn, June 29, 2014.  Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1115809/people-told-to-leave-nwa-as-land-assault-looms
[7] “22,300 families have migrated to Khost, Paktika: Afghan officials,” The News, June 28, 2014. Available: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-258634-22,300-families-have-migrated-to-Khost,-Paktika:-Afghan-officials
[8] Reza Jan, “What You Need to Know About Pakistan’s North Waziristan Operation,” Criticalthreats.org, June 19, 2014. Available: http://www.criticalthreats.org/pakistan/jan-what-you-need-to-know-north-waziristan-operation-june-19-2014#_ednb969c3d21d1335f4dc41b6d845f98f1363
“The War in Waziristan: Operation Rah-e-Nijat - Phase 1 Analysis,” AEI Critical Threats Project, November 18, 2009. Available: http://www.criticalthreats.org/pakistan/war-waziristan-operation-rah-e-nijat-phase-1-analysis
[9] Reza Jan, “What You Need to Know About Pakistan’s North Waziristan Operation,” Criticalthreats.org, June 19, 2014. Available: http://www.criticalthreats.org/pakistan/jan-what-you-need-to-know-north-waziristan-operation-june-19-2014#_ednb969c3d21d1335f4dc41b6d845f98f1363
“The War in Waziristan: Operation Rah-e-Nijat - Phase 1 Analysis,” AEI Critical Threats Project, November 18, 2009. Available: http://www.criticalthreats.org/pakistan/war-waziristan-operation-rah-e-nijat-phase-1-analysis
[10] Based on author’s own tracking and observations, as well as interviews with senior Pakistani military officers involved in counterinsurgency operations, Spring 2010
“The War in Waziristan: Operation Rah-e-Nijat - Phase 1 Analysis,” AEI Critical Threats Project, November 18, 2009. Available: http://www.criticalthreats.org/pakistan/war-waziristan-operation-rah-e-nijat-phase-1-analysis
[11] “No PR150/2014-ISPR,” Inter Service Public Relations, June 30, 2014. Available: https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=2600
Jibran, Ahmad, “Pakistan army begins ground offensive in North Waziristan capital,” Reuters, June 30, 2014. Available: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/30/pakistan-military-offensive-idINKBN0F50R320140630?feedType=RSS&feedName=southAsiaNews
“Zarb-i-Azb: 15 suspected militants killed in ground offensive,” Dawn, June 30, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1116099/zarb-i-azb-15-suspected-militants-killed-in-ground-offensive
“Pakistan troops launch ground offensive against Taliban,” BBC, June 30, 2014. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28086014
[12] Based on continuous tracking of military activity in North Waziristan during June and July 2014 by the Critical Threats Project using media reports and Pakistan Army press releases
[13] Mateen Haider, “80pc of Miramshah cleared army says,” Dawn, July 9, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1118087/80pc-of-miramshah-cleared-army-says
“Operation Zarb-e-Azb: Terrorists are on the run, says Sajwa,” The Express Tribune, July 10, 2014. Available: http://tribune.com.pk/story/733537/operation-zarb-e-azb-terrorists-are-on-the-run-says-bajwa/
“Evidence of al-Qaeda presence found in NWA: army officials,” The News, July 10, 2014. Available: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-31499-Evidence-of-al-Qaeda-presence-found-in-NWA%3a--army-officials
[14] “Journalists gain rare access to North Waziristan ghost town,” BBC: Asia, July 10, 2014. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28233408
“Zarb-e-Azb updates: Army busts militant suicide bombing centre, media facility,” The Express Tribune, June 15, 2014. Available: http://tribune.com.pk/story/722202/army-launches-operation-in-north-waziristan/
[15] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Key TTP commander Adnan Rashid arrested in S Waziristan: sources,” Dawn, July 15, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1119405/key-ttp-commander-adnan-rashid-arrested-in-s-waziristan-sources
[16] “Al Qaeda trainer, not Adnan, captured,” Reuters, July 24, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1121501/al-qaeda-trainer-not-adnan-captured
[17] “TTP confirms Adnan Rashid’s arrest,” Geo News, July 16, 2014. Available: http://www.geo.tv/article-153952-TTP-confirms-Adnan-Rashids-arrest-
[18] Munir Ahmed, “Pakistan launches ground offensive in 2nd key town,” Yahoo News, July 15, 2014. Available: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/pakistan-launches-ground-offensive-2nd-key-town-123734970.html
[19] “Zarb-i-Azb: Two more militant strongholds cleared in NWA,” Dawn, July 20, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1120306/zarb-i-azb-two-more-militant-strongholds-cleared-in-nwa
[20] “Zarb-i-Azb: Two more militant strongholds cleared in NWA,” Dawn, July 20, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1120306/zarb-i-azb-two-more-militant-strongholds-cleared-in-nwa
[21] Based on continuous tracking of military activity in North Waziristan during June and July 2014 by the Critical Threats Project using media reports and Pakistan Army press releases
[22] “FAO assisting IDPs of NWA,” The News, July 18, 2014. Available: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-262427-FAO-assisting-IDPs-of-NWA
[23] “Pentagon praises Zarb-e-Azb,” The News, July 10, 2014. Available: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-31500-Pentagon-praises-Zarb-e-Azb
“’Kayani was reluctant to launch N Waziristan operation’,” Dawn, July, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1116115/kayani-was-reluctant-to-launch-n-waziristan-operation
“Kayani delayed the operation: Athar Abbas, The Express Tribune, July 1, 2014. Available: http://tribune.com.pk/story/729499/kayani-delayed-the-operation-athar-abbas/
“Kayani continued to postpone NWA operation: Gen Athar,” The News, July 1, 2014. http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-31285-Kayani-continued-to-postpone-NWA-operation%3a-Gen-Athar
[24] “Zarb-e-Azb: Five suspected militants killed in NWA airstrike,” Dawn July 5, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1117254/zarb-i-azb-five-suspected-militants-killed-in-nwa-airstrikes
[25] “Journalists gain rare access to North Waziristan ghost town,” BBC: Asia, July 10, 2014. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28233408
“Zarb-e-Azb updates: Army busts militant suicide bombing centre, media facility,” The Express Tribune, June 15, 2014. Available: http://tribune.com.pk/story/722202/army-launches-operation-in-north-waziristan/
[26] Reza Jan, “Al Qaeda Isn’t ‘On Its Heels,’” Criticalthreats.org, May 27, 2014. Available: http://www.criticalthreats.org/alqaeda/jan-al-qaeda-isnt-on-its-heels-may-27-2014
“US drone attack kills six suspected militants in North Waziristan,” Dawn, June 18, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1113523/us-drone-attack-kills-six-suspected-militants-in-north-waziristan
“Drone strike hits Pakistan tribal area of North Waziristan,” BBC News Asia, July 10, 2014. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28241352
“At least 18 suspected militants killed in North Waziristan drone attack,” Dawn, July 16, 2014. Available:http://www.dawn.com/news/1119584/at-least-18-suspected-militants-killed-in-north-waziristan-drone-attack
“Unending campaign: Drone strike kills 22 suspected militants in North Waziristan,” Express Tribune, July 19, 2014. Available: http://tribune.com.pk/story/737823/unending-campaign-drone-strike-kills-11-suspected-militants-in-north-waziristan/
 
[27] Bill Roggio, “6 al Qaeda operatives thought killed in recent drone strike in Pakistan,” Long War Journal, July 20, 2014. Available: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/07/6_al_qaeda_operative.php
[28] “North Waziristan empties out as foreigners flee,” AFP, June 13, 2014. Available:http://www.dawn.com/news/1112503/north-waziristan-empties-out-as-foreign-fighters-flee
“Will Pakistan go all out against militants?” BBC, June 16 2014. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27870343
M Ilyas Khan, “Where have all Pakistan’s militants gone?” BBC, June 30, 2014. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28096454
“IDPs reaching Hangu cause worry,” Dawn, June 25, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1114992/idps-reaching-hangu-cause-worry
[29] “North Waziristan empties out as foreigners flee,” AFP, June 13, 2014. Available:http://www.dawn.com/news/1112503/north-waziristan-empties-out-as-foreign-fighters-flee
“Will Pakistan go all out against militants?” BBC, June 16 2014. Available:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27870343
M Ilyas Khan, “Where have all Pakistan’s militants gone?” BBC, June 30, 2014. Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28096454
“IDPs reaching Hangu cause worry,” Dawn, June 25, 2014. Available: http://www.dawn.com/news/1114992/idps-reaching-hangu-cause-worry
Haji Mujtaba, “Drone strike kills 11 militants in northwest Pakistan” Reuters, July 19, 2014. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/19/us-pakistan-security-idUSKBN0FO06320140719
[30] “Pakistan leader urges Afghan’s Karzai to stop militant exodus,” AFP, June 17, 2014. Available: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/pakistan-leader-urges-afghans-karzai-stop-militant-exodus-073009711.html
Michael Kugelman, “Pakistan is Fighting Back Against Militants. Here’s Why it Might Not Win,” Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2014. Available: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/06/16/pakistan-is-fighting-back-against-militants-heres-why-it-may-not-win/
[31] Tahir Khan, “Pakistan, Afghanistan to establish working group on security,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2014. Available: http://tribune.com.pk/story/727434/pakistan-afghanistan-to-establish-working-group-on-security/ 
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