The Story of Pakistan in the War on Terror
War on Terror
Pakistan faced brutal consequences of the War on Terror. The WOT also knowns as Global War on Terror begun soon after attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. This inhuman attack claims 3,000 people died. It instigated U.S people and armed forces to wage war on Al-Qaeda, the responsible for the attacks. The Bush Administration thus launched a military campaign against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and followed on Iraq in September 2001. It posed a serious threat to Pakistan security. Pakistan became front line non-NATO ally in the so-called War on Terror. Most importantly, Pakistan became a safe haven for militancy due to border connectivity with the war-torn country, Afghanistan. After U.S invasion, terrorist escaped and hide in FATA (Federal Administered Tribal Area) in Khyber Pukhtoon Khwa. These militants found their basis in the Border areas of KPK and declare war on Pakistan and its agencies. These Militants urged local inhabitants and plunged them into an evil war. Similarly, U.S drone attacks in FATA killed thousands of innocent people. These wounded people thereby joined hands with Militant factions, like Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Pakistan Security Forces launched several operations against militants to expel them out of the region.
Military operations In FATA
The initial operations did not yield an impressive outcomes due to lack of experience, information and skills of asymmetric war. Al-Meezan was the first military battle with terrorist from 2002 to 2006 in North Waziristan. In first operation Pakistan lost 1,200_1,500 Security Personals. Pakistan Armed Forces again launched Operation Rah-e-Haqq against Tahrik-e-Taliban in 2007. First phase of Rah-e-Haqq operation commenced against Tahrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammedi (TNSM). Subsequently, the operation end with a Peace Accord, known as Malakand Accord. Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem begun in June 2008 in Khyber Agency-FATA. Furthermore, Pakistan Armed Forced burst out military strike against TNSM as operation Rah-e-Rast after accord failed between TNSM and Government in Swat, wherein, TNSM had been defeated and expelled from the region. Another operation, Koh-e-Sufaid started in July 2011. Similarly, various campaigns like operation Rah-e-Nejat, operation Zalzala and operation Sher Dil etc was launched by Pakistan’s forces but did not bear the fruits.
Army Public School attack
But a major shift in War on Terror befell in the wake of a catastrophic terrorist attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on 16 December 2014. Six gunmen affiliated with TTP, all of whom were foreign nationals including one Chechen, 3 Arabs, and 2 Afghans entered the school and opened fired on school staff and children. These attackers killed 149 people, including 132 children in an age of 8-18 years. Though, the attack had been condemned across the country by every segment of community. It pulled out Pakistan's Nation and its Security Forces to declare an organized war on terrorism.
Pakistan Forces launched operation Zarb-e-Azb in July 2014 in the eve of APS attacks. It included every faction of insurgency. It was against Al-Qaeda, TTP, Islamic Moment of Uzbekistan, East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Jundullah, Sepah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Islamic Militants, Haqqani Network and so on. Security Forces for the first time came out with a proactive strategy, to seek the target, find them and upends them comprehensively. After two years, phenomenal success was achieved. The terrorist financial structure was destroyed and their network was dismantled. Merely, in operation Zarb-e-Azb, 3,400 terrorists were killed, 873 hideouts were devastated from where activities were conducted. More than 21,193 Militants were arrested. However, the success claimed a huge price in the shape of loss of security personals and civilians. Over 488 officers, men of Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Sindh Rangers lost their lives, wherein, 1,914 were injured. Despite such irreparable lost, overall law and order situation had been ameliorated. The terrorist attack had dropped to six-years low since 2008.
Notwithstanding, Pakistan Military Forces launched operation Radd-ul-Fassad in February 2017. Radd-ul-Fassad was the extension of Zarb-e-Azb to eliminate terrorist sleeper cells and the threat of further terrorism. It has aimed to ensured border security of the country to maintain peace and stability across the region.
Since the beginning of Radd-ul-Fassad in 2017, 785 militants were killed, 1,319 were injured and 1,554 were arrested. Operation Radd-ul-Fassad had reciprocal damages. Pakistan lost 419 soldiers, 1,340 were injured and 850 civilians have died. Operation Radd-ul-Fassad is still an ongoing operation. Blissfully, these operations deliver meaningful outcomes. According to DGISPR (Director General of Inter Service Public Relation), there is no more major threat of terrorism, and there is no organized terrorist organization in the country. It is a positive sign of a successful campaign against terrorism in the global War on Terror.
Impacts of War on Terror on Pakistan
Although, in overall War on Terror since 9/11, Pakistan conducted nearly thousands of Intelligent Based Operations (IBO) across the country. Over 17,531 terrorists have been killed. Nearly 450 tons of explosive devices had been recovered through operations and IBOs. Over 81 thousand Pakistani people died or injured in this War on Terror. It highly cost the Pakistan economy. Pakistan lost over $300 Billion. Similarly, Pakistan cooperated and shared information with Seventy Foreign agencies. Hundreds of well-known terrorists had been captured and rendered to U.S intelligent Agency. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the mastermind of 9/11, was captured from Rawalpindi by Pakistan-US joint raids and rendered to U.S government. Zayn-ul-Abidn Muhammad Husayn Abu Zubeida, Ramzi-Bin-al-Shibh, and Mohammad Atta, etc, highly ranked Al-Qaeda figures had been captured under joint U.S-Pakistan Military raids. Recently, Pakistan has facilitated negotiations between U.S and Taliban to end the war with mutual consent.
Functions of NAP
Subsequently, the War on Terror gave an origin to violent and extremism in the religious community in Pakistan. Pakistan government now completed the registration of Madrasahs. Under NAP (National Action Plane), hate speeches are banned, and the curriculum of Madrasah has been amended. The religious schools and religious clergy used to urge people for peaceful coexistence. A religious 'FATWA" was sought by the Government knowns as Paigham-i-Pakistan to counter terrorism. It has signed by 3,900 religious scholars of various Islamic School of Thoughts. Several charitable organizations banned, who had linked to the insurgency, while remaining kept under strict scrutiny.
Nonetheless, Pakistan shares a 2,200 km long border with Afghanistan. Afghanistan remained a hot arena of insurgency and terrorism since the Soviet Union departure in May 1989. Pak_Afghan border was the easiest way, whereat, a terrorist could permeate in Pakistani territory overtly. According to Inter Public Service Relation (ISPR), about 1,200 km border has been fenced. The project cost over $550 million, that includes the cost of gadget and surveillance equipment. It is an amicable step to impede illegitimate infiltration.
Needless to say, Pakistan suffered more than its capacity, but subsequently, Pakistan succeeded in War on Terror. Pakistan’s nation is proud of their Security Forces and Deep States. They happy instead of huge loss to win a battle with unseen enemy. Pakistan is one of the leading country that defeat terrorism with mutual commitment of people, State and security forces.
© 2019 Faheem Sameer