Pakistan Army Claims Taliban Defeated
Is General Tariq Khan, delusional?
Pakistan's army General Khan claims that the Taliban in Bajaur (Bajur) and Mohmand have lost, have been defeated, and their command apparatus internally dismantled. This is the result of an Pakistani Army offensive that lasted six months and cost 97 Kia and 400 Wia for them, while killing 1800 Taliban.
General Khan indicates that the road networks are now free of terrorists, making it impossible for them to move freely. However, as before many times, the Pakistanis have won tactical victories in Khyber, Swat, Kohat, Arakzai, and North and South Waziristan, only to be taken again by the Taliban when the Army left. Already, Khan is saying he will withdraw troops from these "cleaned" areas! In Mohmand, the army commander there indicated that, "the militants are running away".
The Pakistani Army continues to fight the Taliban as if they were a conventianal force. Controlling the roads within a district is only but one step to winning. The areas are heavily mountainous making it ideal for the taliban to retreat and withdraw into their protected areas created by the terrain. They know the Pakistani Army will not go after them here and also know they will withdraw and leave only a security force. All they need to do is wait. Time is on their side because they fight out of deep faith. With the Pakistani Army, time means money. The costs to have a military operation, the costs to garrison it. The Taliban is a foot army, not vehicles and tanks. They like roads, but they have proven over and over, they don't need them, so controlling the roads is good for politics and news but against a terrorist group, meaningless. One has to take the fight to their hiding places in the mountains.
The Taliban may have taken a hit, if they did indeed lose 1800 men, but they will come back and infiltrate the society and government until it all starts over again with them taking control of towns etc. This did happen to the US troops in Vietnam, they would usually win the battles but the political will did not always support the troops. The US would control the roads but was unable to always control other areas of the same province, so the VC and NVA infiltrated and won the hearts of the people, just like the Taliban. This same thing happened with the French in Vietnam in the 50s.
Surely, the Pakistani leaders must know this. They should remain in full force of any district they have secured, but maybe this is simply not possible due to manpower and costs. If that is the case, the handwriting is on the wall.
History, especially, military history, often repeats.