Operation Janbaz

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Operation Janbaz
Part of the War in North-West Pakistan
Date 10–11 October 2009
Location Rawalpindi, Punjab Province, Pakistan
Result Mission successful
Pakistan Army victory
Taliban Commander captured
Pakistani hostages were rescued
Belligerents
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg Pakistan Army Afghanistan Tehrik-i-Taliban,[1] LeJ[2][3]
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg BGen Anwar-ul-Haq Ramday  [4]
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg Lt.Col Waseem Amir  [5]
Afghanistan Mohammed Aqeel  (POW)
Units involved
13th Regular Army Regiment
SSG Division
Army Special Forces
Strength
Unknown (Possibly 50–100) 10 TTP militants
Casualties and losses
12 killed[6] 9 killed
1 captured
2 civilian hostages killed

The Pakistan Army General Headquarters attack (Codename: Operation Janbaz), was a hostage-rescue mission carried by SSG Division during which, on 10 October 2009, when 10 gunmen[7] in military uniform opened fire on the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan.[8] The attack killed nine soldiers, nine militants and two civilians and was a major escalation in Pakistan's domestic insurgency.[9] One militant was wounded and captured by security forces.[2][3][8] Soon after the attack, the militant infiltrated the security buildings where 22 civilian and military officials were held hostage by the militants. The Pakistan Army immediately launched a hostage rescue operation led by the SSG Division, Army Special Forces and the 13th Regular Regiment.

Background[edit]

The Pakistan Army and Pakistani officials have speculated that the attack could have been in retaliation for a series of planned operations in South Waziristan.[10] A report published in The News International on 5 October, quoting Interior Department Punjab, had forewarned that militants wearing army uniforms would carry out an attack on GHQ. "If they fail to enter as per the first plan, then as an alternative they will drive the vehicle to the allegedly broken wall of the GHQ and jumped down into the compound using a ladder".[11] The Daily Jang also reported on a possible threat.[11]

Initial attack[edit]

The attack began when 10 militants, wearing camouflaged army uniforms and armed with "sophisticated weapons", attacked a checkpoint at the army base.[10] They arrived in a white van and attacked the compound with guns and hand grenades; at least three explosions were heard during the assault.[8][12] During the attack, five militants and six soldiers were killed.[8] The Army dead included a Brigadier and a Lieutenant Colonel.[13] The attackers then took 42 hostages, said to include civilians and senior military personnel, to a location near the headquarters.[8][13]

As the militants took over the security buildings, they took more than 42 people at gunpoint. The majority of them were civilian officials and unarmed military personnels. Due to prohibition of bearing weapons inside the GHQ Headquarters, the Islamic militants easily took control of the buildings. The Pakistan Army quickly perpetrated and planned the hostage rescue operation. After limited hours of planning, the hostage operation was launched under the code name of Operation Janbaz. This was followed by deploying Pakistan Army Special Forces, 13th Regular regiment, and the SSG Division. The operation was led by the SSG Division's teams, while the Army Special Forces also participated in the operation. The Special Forces and SSG Division's teams stormed the buildings, and a heavy gun battle was insued. Well-armed Pakistani forces, cleared the building as a first phase of the operation. The first 20 military personnel and civilian hostages were rescued by the Army Special Forces, and 3 injured militants were captured. The SSG teams forward to remaining hostages to rescue them. The remaining hostages were later rescued by the Pakistan army's Special Forces and the SSG Division.[14] Among the hostages were 22 who were being guarded by a suicide bomber, who failed to blow himself up[14] and was subsequently killed. During the attack, which took place at 600 hrs., four militants, two commandos, and three hostages (two civilians and one soldier) were killed.[8][15] Three commandos later died of their injuries. One militant was captured; he was named as Mohammed Aqeel (alias Dr. Usman), and was said to be the leader of the group and the mastermind of the 3 March attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.[8][8][16] Aqeel was arrested in a building separate from the other militants, from whom five hostages were rescued. He had also tried to blow himself up and was injured in the process.[14]

Photographs of two of the attackers were released to the general public for identification.[17]

Investigations[edit]

Police raided a house at Dhok Awan, Model Town Humak where the militants had stayed, and arrested the owner, Azam Qazi,[18] as well as the property dealer who rented the house to the attackers. Several sets of Pakistani Army uniforms, maps of sensitive locations, fuses and detonators used in explosives, material used in making suicide jackets, and several identity cards were found at the safe house. Two pairs of trousers, two jeans, and over 10 pairs of Shalwar Kameez and slippers were also found. Evidence showed that at least 10 people were present at the house before the attack. The rent agreement was also found, which said the house was rented for Rs. 10,000 on 9 September. The attackers apparently stayed there for 20 to 25 days.[19] Police also arrested another mastermind the attacks, Qari Ishtiaq, who is said to the commander of Punjabi Tehrik-i-Taliban. He was arrested from Bahawalpur on the information provided by the Hijratullah who has been jailed for 10 years due to his role in Lahore police academy attacks.[20] 7 other militants were arrested from different parts of Punjab on his information him.[21]

Responsibility[edit]

A first information report (FIR) was registered at Royal Artillery Bazaar (R.A Bazaar) Police Station against Mohammad Aqeel, alias Dr. Usman, for the attack. FIR no. 674 was registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). It alleged murder, attempted murder, and possession of explosives and illegal arms.[22]

A Tehrik-e-Taliban (Amjad Farooqi Group) claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to an AFP reporter. The call was made by TTP spokesman Azam Tariq.[18][23]

As long as Pakistan continues its operation against the Taliban, we will also keep continuing such attacks We claim responsibility for the attack on GHQ. It was carried out by our Punjab branch... We have the capability to strike at any place in Pakistan

Analysts have said the leader, Dr. Usman, is a member of the HUJI[2] or the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, acting in concert with the TTP.[3][24]

According to ISPR, the attack was planned in South Waziristan, and 5 out of the 10 attackers belonged to Baitullah Meshud's group. According to Time, 5 of the 10 attackers were from Punjab.[25] As such, the attack is believed to be one of the first major attacks attributed to the Punjabi Taliban, former state-supported militants now operating with the Taliban.[26] Senior officials of the army were the prime target of the attacks. They were to be held hostage in order to secure the release of 100 already detained militants.[23]

Subsequent airstrikes[edit]

Following the attacks, the Pakistan Air Force retaliated with two airstrikes on suspected militant targets in South Waziristan on Sunday evening, 11 October. According to Pakistani intelligence officials, five militants were killed.

On the night of 11 October, Pakistan Air Force fighter jets pounded various hideouts of militants in South Waziristan, killing 13 Taliban fighters.[27] In the meantime, Pakistani UAVs and surveillance planes were intermittently flying over various areas of North and South Waziristan.[27]

Media blackout[edit]

Two news channels, Geo TV and Samaa, were taken off the air for an hour. A message from Pakistan's media regulatory body appeared on those channels announcing it was temporarily suspending transmission of "independent news TV channels" until further notice.[10]

15 October attacks[edit]

On 15 October, several more attacks were carried out against government buildings in areas across Pakistan. Four gunmen attacked the Federal Investigation Agency building in Lahore; seven police and attackers were killed in the assault. Also attacked were two police academies and a police station in Kohat.[28]

Reaction[edit]

  • United States United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in London that she wished to "point out this shows the continuing threats to the Pakistani government and the very important steps that the civilian leadership, along with the military, are taking to root out the extremists and prevent violence and direct assaults on the sovereignty of the state".[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Taliban claim GHQ attack". The News (Newspaper). 13 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Terrorist attack in Pakistan shows how vulnerable it is". McClatchy Newspapers. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Car Bomb Kills at Least 41 in Restive Region of Pakistan". The New York Times. 12 October 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "Brigadier Anwar ul Haq Ramday and Lt. Colonel Waseem laid to rest". PAKISTAN OBSERVER. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  5. ^ "Brigadier Anwar ul Haq Ramday and Lieutenant Colonel Wasim laid to rest". PAKISTAN OBSERVER. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "Senior officers were main target of GHQ attack". The News. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Hostages at Pakistani army HQ released". CNN. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Pakistan army raid frees hostages". BBC News. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  9. ^ "[Pakistan Primer Pt. 2] From Kashmir to the FATA: The ISI Loses Control," Global Bearings, 28 October 2011.
  10. ^ a b c "10 Dead in Attack on Pakistani Military HQ". CBS News. 10 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "GHQ attack report published in Daily Jang, The News on 5 Oct". The News. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Two blasts heard inside GHQ". The News International. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ a b "Terrorists hold several security men hostage". 10 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009. 
  14. ^ a b c "GHQ operation completed with the arrest of injured terrorists’ top dog". The news. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. [dead link]
  15. ^ "3 hostages, 2 commandos, four kidnappers killed in rescue bid". The news. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Commando raid formally completed with last injured terrorist’s arrest". The News International. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. [dead link]
  17. ^ "GHQ attack: ISPR releases pictures of two terrorists". The News International. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. [dead link]
  18. ^ a b "GHQ attacked". The News. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2009. [dead link]
  19. ^ Azeem, Munawer (11 October 2009). "Owner of safe house arrested in Islamabad". Pakistan: Dawn. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  20. ^ "Hijrat-Ullah to be jailed for 10 years". Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  21. ^ "GHQ siege mastermind captured, claim police". 28 October 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  22. ^ "GHQ attack: FIR filed in R.A Bazaar police station". Geo.tv. 12 October 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  23. ^ a b "GHQ attackers demanded release of 100 militants". Pakistan: Dawn. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  24. ^ Perlez, Jane (11 October 2009). "Pakistani Police Had Warned Army About a Raid". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  25. ^ Omar Waraich (13 October 2009). "Why Pakistan Must Widen Its Hunt for Militant Bases". Time. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  26. ^ "[Pakistan Primer Pt. 2] From Kashmir to the FATA: The ISI Loses Control," Global Bearings, 28 October 2011.
  27. ^ a b http://thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=88854
  28. ^ "Pakistan shaken by fresh attacks". BBC. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  29. ^ SHAHZAD, ASIF; Munir Ahmad. "Gunmen attack Pakistani army headquarters; 10 dead". Associated Press. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  30. ^ "Lenience possible if terrorists surrender right now: Rehman". The News International. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  31. ^ "Pak Army completed the operation with great expertise: Malik". The News International. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. [dead link]
  32. ^ http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-10-10-voa5.cfm
  33. ^ "Pak army HQ attack exposes extremist threat: Clinton". The News International. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009. [dead link]

External links[edit]