JNN 27 Dec 2013 Islamabad : Around 33 militants were killed in clashes with security forces in the North Waziristan Agency, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a communiqué on Thursday.
According to the statement, the first clash erupted on Wednesday night between security officials and militants, who tried to ambush a convoy of security personnel returning from Khajori check-post after concluding a rescue operation. Some 23 militants were killed in the firefight.
“In exchange of fire three security forces’ personnel were also injured,” the press release added.
In another incident, security forces raided the hideouts of militants in Mir Ali in the North Wazirstan Agency on a tip off that the militants were busy preparing vehicle borne improvised explosive devices.
The operation resulted in the deaths of 10 more militants, most of them foreigners, said the statement. According to AFP, most of the militants were Uzbek.
While the Politicians and the People who have relations with the terrorist Organistaions Like Taliban and want to Provide every type of cover and assistance to them , Are alleging that the army targeted civilians in fierce clashes with militants in the last 72 hours in Mirali, North Waziristan.
“It’s high time these guys were paid back in their own coin,” said a senior military source with firsthand knowledge of the operation conducted overnight on Wednesday and Thursday in Mirali Bazar and its adjoining Ipi, Hasukhel and Mosaki villages by Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and regular infantry contingents belonging to the Mirali Brigade of the 7th Infantry Division, headquartered in Miranshah.
“Contrary to popular opinion, the fighting didn’t start because of the attack on the Khajori CP’s mosque,” said the source, referring to the suicide truck bombing Wednesday on a check post in Khajori, a suburb southeast of Mirali that is jointly manned by Army and Frontier Corps personnel.
The army claimed that five soldiers were killed and 28 others injured in that attack; many of the troops were praying in a makeshift mosque when the bomber struck the vital post. Khajori is called the “Gateway to Waziristan” as it is at the mouth of the Bannu-Miranshah road, and the troops stationed there are tasked with guarding trajectories of the highway that lead on to Hangu, Parachinar, Razmak, South Waziristan and even Ghulam Khan on the Pak-Afghan border.
“Tensions were already building up before Khajori, when a series of IED [improvised explosive device] attempts were made on forces which were patrolling the area for road-construction purposes,” said the officer.
“After the attack on the CP, the rescue party and a contingent of the QRF accompanying them were ambushed as they were returning with the shaheeds and conducting medevac of the injured,” said the source.
“That’s when the engagement started from our end,” said the officer.
“We got command clearance to implement a counter-ambush action and chased the ambushers into a hotel, just off the road. They took cover there and then continued to hit us, using snipers even rockets. So we hit back.”
“We had to retaliate or face more losses,” said the officer.
According to Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, the chief spokesman of the army and the Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate, “23 militants were killed in a carefully conducted counter-offensive clearance engagement which was implemented in strict self-defence” at the roadside hotel just outside Mirali.
But due to a lack off access to the area, details of the fighting were being tormented and twisted by the same local Relgious cum Political Party spokesman and as this time our Nation forces have given a hard time to the Terrorist , so now these elements are trying to demoralize our National Heroes , By spreading rumours and wrong Information of the counter offensive conducted by the forces , which is purely against the terrorist , who doesn’t call them selves Pakistani Neither they are loyal to the Pakistani Nation. As now the New Army Leader ship looks to be courageous , and people have started to feel that they have the will and the Power to cleanse our Nation from the menace of terrorism , so now the People who are being benefitted with this terrorism and who were the Promoters of terrorism , since long are now feeling that this Little action of the Our Armed Forces should be Nipped in the Bud , other wise they even have to Pack up their Bags , as after the Action and cleansing of the terrorist , then it will be there turn ,and they will be even questioned and Brought to the Book , and will also be Punished of the crimes they have done with our Motherland. So Now they are Making a Hue and cry of the Army Reaction , and are claiming that beside the terrorist some local women and children are also killed along with civilians from Bannu and Lakki Marwat in the cross-fire.
However, amidst allegations that the army ‘punished’ the locals in an ‘angry response’ to the Khajori attack, the senior military source with knowledge of the operation’s details said that the fighting on Wednesday and Thursday was phased.
“First, we lay siege to the hotel and the engagement continued throughout the night, into the early morning,” said the officer.
”After fire-suppression and clearance of the hotel, we began a sanitization op[eration] of the larger area, and that’s when the scope of the fighting increased.”
The ISPR stated that intelligence reports had indicated that foreign militants, mostly Uzbeks, were stationed in a “markaz”, in and around Mirali Bazar’s adjoining areas of Hasukhel and Mosaki that were to become the scene of heavier fighting after the engagement at the hotel.
Major General Bajwa told The News that “an intelligence-driven sting operation in Mirali Bazar followed the initial counter-offensive and counter-ambush engagement, led by the same, small contingent that was initially attacked.”
However, the clashes that followed the engagement at the hotel lasted several hours, and AH-1 Cobra gunship and light (mortars) and field artillery were also deployed to provide cover to the forces.
“We had confirmed intelligence that VBIEDs [vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, or car bombs] were being prepared, and that the area was infested with Uzbek and Turkmen militants, who were dug in separately from the civilian population,” said Major General Bajwa.
“Their positions and status were confirmed,” said Bajwa. “This fighting that happened in the Bazar was not an indiscriminate assault but a well thought out sting operation that was target-specific. All weapons platforms deployed were used under standard conditions and rules.”
The ISPR stated that “a dozen” militants, mostly Central Asians, were killed in the ‘sting-operation’. However, responding to reports about collateral damage and the killing of civilians due to heavy artillery shelling, Major General Bajwa said: “Operational commanders at every level have strict orders, from the very top, to avoid collateral casualties.”
According to the senior military source operationally involved with the sting-operation, three-shops full of explosives were also burnt down to dispose of the heavy amount of explosives that were being stored and processed there.
“They were fully stacked, almost a ‘karkhana’ of IEDs. We couldn’t risk moving or leaving the explosives there,” said the source.
But the source also added that aiding the militants could have put some civilians in danger: “Though there was no indiscriminate targeting of civilians, nor did we retaliate to punish any civilians, unless they were actually embedded with and providing cover for these terrorists, none were killed.”
Long criticized for not conducting full-scale military operations in North Waziristan, despite having thousands of troops stationed in the tribal agency, the army’s actions on Wednesday and Thursday spiked a debate about whether the post-Khajori reaction was the beginning of a larger assault.
“This is not, and I repeat, not the beginning of a larger military operation in North Waziristan,” said Major General Bajwa of the ISPR.
But an intelligence source in Miranshah had a more detailed opinion: “This is what happens when you break the code. The agreement with [Taliban commander] Gul Bahadur has been standing since 2006. It clearly stipulates upon the locals that either they take care of the foreigners, or we do. That’s why it’s reasonable for us to deploy just one division [with roughly 10,000 men] in an area where there are over 20,000 hardened fighters…because there’s a code.”
The source continued: “Our deployment is enough for us to establish a writ. Without a go-ahead from the civilian government for a final mop-up operation, we are in a ‘holding position’: not doing too much and not doing too little. But the foreigners have exploited that agreement. They’ve settled here. And now, they’ve broken the code.”
While the Loyal Citizens of Pakistan have Welcomed the Stance of the Pakistan Armed forces of Giving the Reaction of the Offensive , in the same Language they deserve and Understand , And they are of the Opinion that it should not be limited only to North Waziristan , but the scope of this response , should be widened across Pakistan , and the reaction , to any action of these terrorist and their allied organistaions , should be given in the same Language they Understand , across PAKISTAN .
We stand by every Legal and legitimate action of the Pakistan Armed Forces against the Terrorist Organistaions , and even their abettors and Collabrators , on whose support these Terrorist have made grounds with in Pakistan, and have challenged the Integration of Pakistan .