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Pakistan's War on the Terrorists
Prior to 2008, nearly all of Pakistan's military offensives stalled after some initial success. Many times, the military forces would surely beat the terrorists in the agencies bordering Afghanistan, only to be garrisoned by crappy Frontier troops that were corrupt and poorly armed. Thus, whatever success was achieved, was lost in the region. The Pakistani army when well led with combined arms (artillery, air, and armor) is no match for terrorists. The terrorists will lose if they stand and fight. But, when they fight and then run into the mountains, Pakistan seldom pursues them there. It is their "safe haven".
The long awaited major Pakistani army offensive on Warziristan, a haven for the Taliban and other terrorists began on Oct. 17, 2009. By any standards, it was huge, up to 60,000 soliders (mostly from 7th and 9th Divisions) attacked into the area from three directions, 500 of them were special forces. This operation was called, Operation Rah-Nijat, (Path to Deliverance). The three pronged attack met with stiff resistance at times slowing advances, but air support was the winning factor. The offensive ran for 33 days and killed at least 600 Taliban and wounded another 800. It ended with success in late November. Most of the civilians had long left and began to return under heavy army garrison.
On March 24, 2010, Operation Khwakh Ba De Sham began to reclaim and retake the Taliban infestations located in Orakzai Agency, next to Kurram and Kyber Agencies. Pakistan entered with five battalions and extensive air and artillery support, attacking multiple locations. This was an operation that met extensive resistance and required more Pakistani units. The airforce was used almost daily to pound suspected sites and although the official end was June 3, the Taliban continued, forcing Pakistan to do likewise. So, it went on until August until even the Taliban quit. They had lost 2500 KIA to Pakistan’s 53 KIA and 140 WIA. Unlike the previous offensives mentioned, the Pakistani Army showed its worth in execution and in fighting. This was a serious blow to terrorists and a real morale booster for Pakistani forces.
After the daring night raid of American special forces in May, 2011, resulting in killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Pakistan was embarrassed greatly and pressured to counter their ineffectiveness. This is when on July 4th, 2011, they launched Operation Koh-e-Sufaid (White Mountain) in the terrorist haven of Kurram Agency. This area had been taken over by jihadists in 2006-7 being next to Afghanistan. Locals had often begged for this sort of action, yet until Pakistan had to save face, nothing happened. This operation was only limited in opening the main road from Thall to Parachinar. The operation only used 4000 soldiers supported by armor, air and artillery, all from the 7th and 9th Divisions\11th Corps. About 600 militants opposed them and by August 18, it was over. Like other offensives, this was a success totally. But that is because there was little resistance from them. Only 200 were killed. The others took off for the mountains and Pakistani soldiers were instructed not to pursue. It was a Pakistani show of force.
Pakistan seems to hate to garrison areas in the agencies along the Afghanistan border despite the billions of US aid. Their common error is to win the battle yet then leave the area, leaving only crappy units to maintain the area which always fails. Soon, the terrorists are back doing what they do.