Pakistan Continues Offensive (2)

Now in the third day of fighting, the Pakistani offensive against Taliban positions in the districts bordering the SWAT Valley has expanded into Buner, a newly established Taliban stronghold a mere 60 miles from Islamabad.

Initial operations targeted militants based in Lower Dir – an estimated 70-75 Taliban were killed, along with 10 Pakistani “security personnel,” according to chief Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas.

The fighting in Lower Dir, he said, was coming to a close, as operations in Buner have now commenced.

Warplanes, helicopter gunships, heavy artillery and Pakistani army troops, along with elements of the Frontier Corps, are said to be involved in the Buner offensive (with ground units maneuvering into positions while aerial and artillery strikes marked the opening barrage).

In a Guardian report, written by Declan Walsh, a resident of Buner is quoted as saying:

“‘I saw the jet planes earlier and now I can see two helicopters. They are hitting targets in the mountains close to the town,’ resident Jaffar Shah told the Guardian by telephone, shortly after the attack started.”

So, it appears to me, the Taliban are getting wrecked.

Some contributing factors leading to this offensive:

1) Taliban leadership, in recent weeks, called for Sharia law to be implemented across Pakistan, and that the Pakistani constitution should be done away with.

This struck an intense chord with a myriad of political factions within Pakistan who objected to such a claim (Some of whom had actually supported the Taliban initially). The constitution was meticulously drawn up by a group of some 60-plus Islamic scholars and politicians to ensure that it did adhere to Islamic law.

The underlying tone of the Talibani assertion, whether they realized it at the time or not, also made it obvious to Pakistan, if not the world, of their intentions to gain eventual control of the country. They threw that card at the wrong time.

2) They moved, in force and brandishing an array of weaponry, into Buner, just days after signing the SWAT Peace Accord which called for them to disarm and in return they would receive their demand of having Sharia law implemented in SWAT and neighboring districts.

And Buner, about 60 miles from the capital, would be a nice jumping-off point for a surprise infiltration/offensive against the heart of the country, in coordination with other fanatical Islamic groups not directly connected to the Taliban already lying dormant across Punjab Province, in which the federal area of Islamabad is located.

3) Western, namely American, pressure to act. The portrait was painted by Mullen, Holbrooke, Clinton, etc. (See Pakistan Launches Taliban Offensive [1]).

We’ll see what comes of this.

juice

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