Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem

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Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem
Part of the War in North-West Pakistan
NWFP FATA.svg
Date 28 June 2008 - 9 July 2008
(1 week and 4 days)
Location Bara Tehsil, Khyber Agency, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan
Result Tactical Pakistan Army Victory
  • Pakistani intelligence failure
  • Pakistan Army gained control of Khyber Agency
  • Operation halted in July 2008
  • Destruction of LeI command and training centers
Belligerents
Pakistan State of Pakistan
 Pakistan Army
Afghanistan T.N.S.M
Al Qaeda
Lashkar-e-Islam
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.svg PM Yousaf Gillani
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg M.Gen. Tariq Hayat
Afghanistan Mangal Bagh
Units involved
40th Infantry Division
9th Mountain Brigade
Strength
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
1 soldier killed 2 militants killed

The Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (English: Operation Righteous Path), was a Pakistan Army operation in Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency, Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The operation was commenced on June 28, 2008, and was halted by the Army on July 9, 2008.[1]

Khyber Operation[edit]

The Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (English: Operation Righteous Path) was launched by Pakistan Army's 40th Infantry Division. Prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani's government had ordered the Pakistan Army to launch an operation against the Taliban forces in the tribal district of Khyber Agency. According to the Prime minister, the operation was aimed at the Mangal Bagh, a Taliban commander, and was launched as last resort.[2]

The 40th Infantry Division carried out aggressive military campaigns against Tehreek-e-Taliban Lashkar-e-Islam and its rival, Ansarul Islam. The troops were forwarded to Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency where LeI headquarters were located.[3]

The immediate trigger for the operation was two incidents of kidnapping which occurred in Peshawar on the June 21, 2008. Militants abducted six women from the city's posh Hatband neighborhood on allegations of involvement in human trafficking, and a group of 16 Christians, including two priests, was abducted in broad daylight during a prayer meeting. The Christians were released following hurried negotiations between the government and Islamist groups in the region.[4] Both kidnappings were perpetrated by the Islamist group Lashkar-e-Islam, which was the target of Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem in Khyber Agency.

During the weeks of fighting, the 40th Infantry Division had taken control of a key town and demolished the LeI's military infrastructure. During the operation, two militants were reported to be killed while one soldier was also dead. The military had removed the elements of the LeI organization. Though, the military was failed to captured any major commander of the organization. It was later speculated that the top leadership of the LeI have been escaped to unknown location. Soon after the capture of Bara Tehsil, the operation was halted by the army in early July.

Aftermath[edit]

The questions were raised over the Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem. The Pakistani media had speculated that the aim of the operation was not Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. The military had effectively avoided targeting the Taliban. The main target of the operation was Lashkar-e-Islam, whose elements were involved in kidnapping of Christian families based in Peshawar. The Pakistani media also reported that LeI's militants avoided to fight with the military and they had taken refuge among the general population.[5] The Jang News also reported that the military had targeted nothing more than "empty buildings [used by] the banned organizations Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansarul Islam and Amr bil Maroof wa Nahi al-Munkar," and that "not one of the leaders or fighters [of these organizations] was captured.[6]

References[edit]