Pakistan Security Brief

Pakistan Security Brief - October 17, 2009

Pakistani military launches South Waziristan operation early Saturday morning, over 30,000 troops converging on TTP strongholds from several directions; decision to launch taken Friday night after meeting involving top civilian and military leaders; four soldiers, nine militants killed in operation thus far; latest UN statement says over 250,000 people have fled South Waziristan operation. �

  • The long-anticipated Pakistani military operation in Waziristan was launched early on Saturday morning. The operation follows a meeting of the country's top military and civilian leaders on Friday night where they resolved to launch an all-out offensive against the Therik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the Mehsud tribal areas of South Waziristan. Pakistani military spokesman General Athar Abbas said the attack had been launched "from three directions" and said the operation would be limited to the Mehsud tribal areas, an area stretching roughly 1,275 square miles. Over 30,000 Pakistani security forces are reportedly moving from bases in Razmak, Wana, Jandola and Shakai areas towards militant sanctuaries in Makin, Kaniguram, Spinkai Raghzai and Ladha. Clashes have already erupted between militants and the military, with residents of the region reporting exchanges of small-arms and heavy weapons fire. The military estimates enemy strength to be around 10,000 TTP fighters with another 1,500 Uzbek militants in tow. The operation is expected to last two months, well into the onset of winter in the region.[1]
  • Casualties have already been reported in the freshly-launched operation. The Pakistani military released a statement on Saturday claiming that four soldiers had died and twelve had been injured since the start of the operation. Three were killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack on a military convoy leaving a base in Razmak while one soldier died in a bomb attack in the town of Jandola. Meanwhile, the military reports having killed nine militants thus far. The militants have destroyed a communications tower in Tiarza area while military bombardment of Makeen, the main militant stronghold, continues.[2]
  • �The UN said on Friday that over 250,000 people have fled South Waziristan as a result of the imminent operation and recent fighting. The UNHCR said that in recent days over two thousand families had arrived in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank districts bordering South Waziristan although only eight hundred had bothered to register with the authorities.[3]

[1] "Pakistan begins Taliban assault", BBC, October 17, 2009. Available at
Jane Perlez, "Pakistan Moves Troops Into Taliban Stronghold", New York Times, October 17, 2009. Available at
Hafiz Wazir, "Pakistan army starts S.Waziristan ground assault", Reuters, October 17, 2009. Available at
Ishtiaq Mahsud and Munir Ahmad, "Ground offensive begins in Pakistan al-Qaida haven", AP, October 17, 2009. Available at
"Indefinite curfew to be clamped in parts of SWA", Geo TV News, October 17, 2009. Available at
[2] "Roadside bomb kills three soldiers in North Waziristan", Dawn News, October 17, 2009. Available at
"Four soldiers killed, 12 injured in South Waziristan operation", Dawn News, October 17, 2009. Available at
[3] Masood Haider, "Over 200,000 have fled Waziristan, says UN", Dawn News, October 17, 2009. Available at

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