Operation Zarb-e-Azb

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Operation Zarb-e-Azb
Part of the war in North-West Pakistan and the War on Terror
Pakistan NWFP FATA NORTH WAZIRISTAN.svg
  •  North Waziristan
  •  FATA
  •  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Date 15 June 2014–present
Location North Waziristan, FATA, Pakistan
32°57′45.31″N 70°7′32.64″E / 32.9625861°N 70.1257333°E / 32.9625861; 70.1257333Coordinates: 32°57′45.31″N 70°7′32.64″E / 32.9625861°N 70.1257333°E / 32.9625861; 70.1257333
Status Ongoing
Belligerents
Pakistan Islamic Republic of Pakistan

United States United States of America

Insurgent groups
Commanders and leaders
Pakistan

President
Mamnoon Hussain

Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif

Army Chief
Raheel Sharif

Chairman JCSC
Rashad Mahmood

DG ISI
Zaheerul Islam

Air Chief
Tahir Rafique Butt

Naval Chief
Asif Sandila

Insurgent groups

Maulana Fazlullah
Sheikh Khalid Haqqani
Sheharyar Mehsud
Asmatullah Muawiya
Adnan Rashid (POW)
Usman Ghazi[2]

Strength
20,000[3]–30,000[4] 2,000 (unconfirmed sources)[5]
Casualties and losses
26 killed, 13 injured (official sources as of 20 July)[6] In Pakistani offensive:
526 killed (official sources as of 20 July)
35 captured[7][8]
19 surrendered[9]
94 hideouts destroyed

In American Drone Strikes:
60 killed, 8 injured (as of 19 July)[10][11]
2 civilians killed, 1 injured[7][12]
929,859 IDPs registered (as of 14 July)[13]

Operation Zarb-e-Azb (Urdu: آپریشن ضربِ عضبALA-LC: Āpres̱ẖan Ẓarb-i ʿAẓb pronounced [ɑːpreːʃən zərb-e əzb]) is a joint-military offensive operation involving the Islamic Republic of Pakistan against armed insurgent groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), al-Qaeda, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Afghan militant factions such as the Haqqani network. The operation was launched by the Pakistan Armed Forces on 15 June 2014 in North Waziristan, a part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border, as a renewed effort against militancy in the wake of the 8 June attack on Karachi's airport, claimed by TTP and IMU.[14] Up to 30,000 soldiers are involved in the operation. It has been described as a "comprehensive operation" that aims to flush out foreign and local militants hiding in North Waziristan.[15] It is part of the ongoing war in North-West Pakistan and the war on Terror.

The operation has received widespread support among Pakistani political, defence, and civil society circles. The two largest groups of Islamic clerics, the Pakistan Ulema Council and the Council of Islamic Ideology, declared a fatwa endorsing the operation, and labelling it as a jihad against terrorism.[16][17][18]

Etymology[edit]

Zarb-e-Azb (Urdu: ضربِ عضبALA-LC: Ẓarb-i ʿAẓb pronounced [zərb-e əzb]) means "sharp and cutting strike".[19] "Azb" also refers to the name of the sword of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, which he used in the Battle of Badr and the Battle of Uhud.[20]

Background[edit]

Peace-negotiations[edit]

The peace-negotiations with Taliban were announced by the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as he came to power after the elections.[21] Previous attempts to engage the Taliban in a dialogue process had failed. The first session of the talks was held on 26 March 2014, at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, Islamabad.[22] These talks were held by the committees appointed by the Government of Pakistan and Taliban. The Taliban did not name representatives from within their own ranks and instead nominated pro-Taliban religious figures to represent their views.[21] The Taliban called for the implementation of Sharia law in Pakistan, whereas the Pakistani government demanded hostilities to be ceased, and insisted that the talks should be held within the framework of the Constitution of Pakistan.[21] A month-long ceasefire was reached between the government and Taliban on 1 March 2014.[23]

The talks involved travelling of the government representatives to the area near the Afghan border by helicopter, and meetings also took place at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House. The government had indicated that stronger military action will be used if negotiations fail.[22]

Peace-negotiations failure[edit]

The peace-negotiations collapsed after the execution of 23 Pakistani Frontier Corps soldiers by the Taliban on 17 February 2014.[24][25] The soldiers had been held by the insurgents since 2010. On 17 April 2014, the TTP formally ended the ceasefire.[26] More than 90 militants were killed in Taliban infighting since March 2014. The infighting resulted from the differences between the Mehsud group led by Sheheryar Mehsud and another TTP faction led by Khan Said Sajna, thus impeding the peace-talks.[27] The peace-talks suffered a death blow due to the terrorist attack on Karachi Airport, with the Taliban claiming responsibility for the brazen attack that led to the killing of 26 people and security personnel.[28][29]

A Pakistani security official was quoted to have said: "the army is ready for an operation. It now all depends on the government to make a decision."[30]

Jinnah Airport attack[edit]

The operation started exactly a week after the terrorist attack on Pakistan's busiest airport. On 8 June 2014, 10 militants of TTP and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 36 people, including all 10 attackers, and wounding at least 18 persons.[28]

Following the attack, the Pakistani military launched a series of aerial strikes on militant hideouts in the tribal areas along the Afghan border. At least 25 militants were killed on 10 June, including foreign fighters.[31] Two drone attacks on 12 June also killed Uzbek, Afghan and some local militants.[32][33] On 15 June, the Pakistani military intensified air strikes in North Waziristan, and bombed eight foreign militant hideouts killing up to 140 militants, a majority of whom were Uzbeks, including those linked to the airport attack and a key Uzbek commander and mastermind of the airport attack, Abu Abdur Rehman Almani.[34][35] The intensified aerial strikes were conducted in the wake of the attack, and were an extension of a campaign of military operations against militants being conducted since the past few months.[31]

Preparations[edit]

Using North Waziristan as a base, these terrorists had waged a war against the state of Pakistan and had been disrupting our national life in all its dimensions, stunting our economic growth and causing enormous loss of life and property. They had also paralyzed life within the agency and had perpetually terrorized the entire peace loving and patriotic local population.

Inter-Services Public Relations[36][37]

The Pakistani military had prepared for the operation since long before, whereas the Pakistani government prepared for the implications of the operation on three fronts.[38] This included the separation of the target militant groups, to get support from the political parties and to save the civilians from the backlash of the operation.[38]

Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the nation stands by its army. "The decision was taken after the strategy of dialogue failed. The operation will continue until it reaches its logical conclusion. Any group that challenges Pakistan's constitution, attacks civilians, soldiers, and government installations and uses Pakistani territory to plan terrorist attacks will be targeted," he said. He added that IDPs will be facilitated by the federal as well as KP governments. "We will try to ensure that the displaced do not have to stay away from their homes for too long."[39]

The army troops encircled militant bases in the towns of Mirali and Miranshah. Afghan security forces were asked to seal the border on their side, officials said.[40] The operation involved the PAF, artillery, tanks and ground troops. "On the directions of the government, armed forces of Pakistan have launched a comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists who are hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan," a military statement said.[40]

A military official said that between 14,000 and 20,000 soldiers were normally stationed in North Waziristan before the operation. He expected the offensive would require no more than 30,000 soldiers altogether.[4]

Chronology[edit]

15 June[edit]

  • The first phase of the operation started with intensified airstrikes which targeted the militant training facilities, hideouts and other infrastructure.[41]
  • The Pakistani military intensified air strikes in North Waziristan, and destroyed eight militant hideouts in the previous night airstrikes. Militant hideouts in Degan-Boya, Datta Khel in North Waziristan were targeted by jet aircraft. There were confirmed reports of the presence of foreign and local insurgents in these hideouts who were linked in planning the Karachi airport attack. An ammunition dump was also destroyed. Reportedly, up to 140 militants, mostly Uzbek, were killed in the strikes, including a key Uzbek commander and mastermind of the airport attack, Abu Abdur Rehman Almani.[36][42][35]
  • North Waziristan Agency was isolated by deploying troops along its border with neighbouring agencies and FATA Regions to block any move of militants in and out of the Agency. Within the Agency, troops moved and cordoned off all insurgents bases, including in the town of Mirali and Miranshah.[36]
  • Necessary logistics and administrative arrangements for IDPs have been made by political administration and Disaster Management Agency. Registration points and IDP camps were established.[36]
  • Surrender points were also made for those militants who chose to quit violence and give up their arms.[36]
  • Aerial surveillance of the area was being carried out. Afghan security forces were requested to seal the border on their side to facilitate elimination of militants who attempt to escape across the border. They were also requested to initiate immediate measures to eliminate TTP militants and their hideouts in Kunar, Nuristan and other areas of Afghanistan.[36]

16 June[edit]

  • Six militant hideouts in Shawal, North Waziristan Agency were destroyed by jet aircraft. In these airstrikes 27 militants were also killed. There was no civil population in Shawal.[42][43] According to reports, two fighter jets launched airstrikes against militant hideouts in Shawal District of North Waziristan on early morning.[44]
  • ISPR said that six soldiers have been killed and three injured due to an Improvised explosive device (IED) explosion between the Afghan border and Ghulam Khan Tehsil in North Wazirstan Agency. They added that a security forces convoy was targeted on Bane Dar road in Ghulam Khan Tehsil on the Pak-Afghan border. Forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.[42][43]
  • In a sniper action by Special Services Group, 3 insurgents were killed, while laying IEDs close to Miranshah.[42]
  • 7 fleeing militants were killed on the outskirts of Mirali last night. 3 soldiers were injured in the exchange of fire.[42]
  • In a separate fire exchange, seven more militants were killed. The fire exchange took place when the militants tried to flee from the cordoned off area on 16 June. Two Pakistani soldiers were also reported as being killed in the fire exchange.[42][43]

17 June[edit]

  • Air strikes destroyed six militant hideouts in parts of North Waziristan killing 25 foreign and local militants. Air strikes were conducted around Hasokhel area of Mir Ali.[45]
  • At least three suspected militants were killed when they attempted to flee a cordoned off area in Miranshah. One soldier was also injured in the exchange of fire.[45][46]
  • No operation in built up areas had been started so far to ensure following:-
    • No militant can escape the cordon.
    • All civilians are safely evacuated after their detailed verification.[45]
  • More than 40 percent of area in North Waziristan was cleared from militants in the first three days of the operation.[47]

19 June[edit]

  • It was reported that 15 militants were killed in Zartatangi mountain heights, east of Miranshah by Army Cobra helicopter gunships the previous night. Zartatangi mountain heights served as one of the main communication centres of the insurgents.[48]
  • In a separate sniper action, 8 Uzbek militants were killed around Miranshah while planting Improvised explosive devices on the road between Miranshah and Mirali.[48]
  • Evacuation of civilian population from Miranshah and Ghulam Khan was started. Checkpoints were established at various places where IDPs were provided all administrative support inclusive of food items and medicine by security forces.[48]
  • Up to 400 Afghan families left North Waziristan Agency for Afghanistan through Ghulam Khan Border village. They were provided all required administrative assistance.[49]

20 June[edit]

  • Three militant hideouts in area Qutab Khel, on the outskirts of Miranshah were destroyed early morning by Army Cobra helicopter gunships. The action involved integration of cobra gunships, artillery and snipers. 12 militants including foreigners were killed in the strikes. Large cache of arms and ammunition was also destroyed.[49]
  • Militants inside cordoned off areas made attempts to flee. 6 attempts were foiled the previous night. 3 locals without identity proof were arrested while trying to flee from the cordon.[49]
  • Another 24 suspects trying to flee in the clothing of IDPs were arrested at various strangulation check posts in Mirali and Miranshah.[49]
  • An organised evacuation of IDPs continued from the agency towards Bannu. 200,000 persons had been evacuated from the area so far.[49]

21 June[edit]

  • 30 militants in total were killed in targeted airstrikes in uninhabited areas of Khyber and North Waziristan Agencies early morning. According to details, Jet aircraft destroyed two hideouts close to Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Khyber agency killing 10 militants. These surgical strikes were in line with the security forces' reviewed strategy to take on the militants across FATA.[50][51] 3 militant hideouts were destroyed in Hassu Khel in North Waziristan Agency killing 20 militants.[50]

23 June[edit]

  • 8 militant hideouts around Mir Ali were destroyed by jet aircraft early morning, killing 15 militants. Tunnels were spotted in the targeted areas.[52]
  • 10 militants were killed while trying to flee from their cordoned off bases in Spinwam and Mir Ali. 2 Pakistani soldiers were also reported to have been killed in exchange of fire.[52]
  • Curfew was relaxed for two hours to facilitate evacuation of left over locals. 414,429 IDPs had been registered so far at Saidgai check post.[52]
  • A field medical hospital by Army medical corps was being established at Bannu to provide medical relief to the displaced people.[52]
  • The evacuation of most of the IDPs came to an end. Around 450,000 IDPs arrived in Bannu and their registration was also complete at Saidgi check post.[53][54]

24 June[edit]

  • 27 militants were killed in jet aircraft strikes in Mir Ali and surroundings areas in afternoon. 11 militant hideouts were destroyed. Huge cache of arms and ammunition was also destroyed.[55]
  • 20 militants were killed in early morning air strikes on terrorist hideouts in Khyber Agency. 12 militant hideouts were destroyed.[55]
  • A vehicle borne suicide attack attempt was foiled in Spinwam area of North Waziristan Agency this afternoon. According to details a single cabin explosive laden vehicle tried to approach a check post outside a civil hospital when soldiers on duty, spotted and fired at the vehicle. The vehicle exploded 100 meters short of check post. 2 soldiers and a civilian were reported to have been killed when nearby roof of a building collapsed due to explosion.[55]

25 June[edit]

  • PAF jets bombed 5 militant hideouts in Mir Ali, destroying them and killing 13 militants.[56]
  • 12 militants surrendered to the Pakistan Armed Forces.[56]

26 June[edit]

  • Evacuation of all of the around 450,000 civilians was completed.[41]
  • The second phase of the operation started with the initiation of ground offensive by the Pakistani military.[41]
  • 7 militants surrendered themselves at the surrender-center in North Waziristan, after which the count has reached 19.[57][58]

27 June[edit]

  • In the evening PAF Jet aircraft destroyed 6 confirmed terrorists' hideouts on the outskirts of Mir Ali killing 11 militants.[57]
  • TTP commander of Miranshah, Commander Umer was killed by security forces that night on the outskirts of Miranshah.[57]

28 June[edit]

  • Militant concentrations were targeted early morning by integrated Pakistani fire of Artillery, Tanks and Heavy weapons outside Miranshah, killing 7 militants.[57]
  • An al-Qaeda commander was arrested while he was trying to flee from surrounded base. Initial interrogation showed him as an explosive, Improvised Explosive Device and suicide belt expert.[57]
  • 3 militants were arrested by security forces while they were trying to cross Indus River near Mianwali. All crossing places along the river were manned to seal any escape route.[57]

29 June[edit]

  • 16 militants were killed when PAF fighter jets targeted their hideouts in the Mirali town of North Waziristan Agency.[59][60]
  • Seven militant hideouts along with explosives and ammunition dumps were also destroyed in the airstrikes, as reported by military sources.[59][60]

30 June[edit]

  • Ground operation commenced in and around Miranshah early morning. Search operations were being carried out by infantry troops and special service group, killing 15 militants. Troops recovered underground tunnels and IEDs preparation factories inside the so far cleared areas. 3 soldiers were also reported to be injured injured in exchange of fire. All civil population had earlier been evacuated.[9]
  • Since start of the operation, 376 militants had been killed while 19 surrendered. 61 militant hideouts had been destroyed in the first phase of the operation. 17 soldiers were also reported to have been killed in the operation so far.[9]

1 July[edit]

  • During the ground operation in Miranshah, a landmine factory was discovered. 225 cylinders, 700 pipes filled with explosive materials and 150 unfinished landmines were seized, according to ISPR.[61]
  • 2 Pakistani soldiers were killed and another one was reported to have been injured, when the militants ambushed a military vehicle in Mirali tehsil of North Waziristan.[62][63][64]

2 July[edit]

  • 10 militants were killed when the Pakistani helicopters shelled militant hideouts in the Khar Warsak area, 12 kilometres north of Miranshah. 3 militant hideouts were destroyed in the airstrikes.[65]

3 July[edit]

  • Bodies of seven militants were recovered in Darpa Khel area of Mirali. A security official was reported to have been said: "Bodies were of suspected militants who were gunned down by security forces in Mirali tehsil of the agency." The official added that the forces had advanced from Mirali and Miramshah Bazaar towards the outskirts of the agency after destroying three militant hideouts in Mirali, one of the hideouts belonged to foreign militants.[66]

4 July[edit]

  • A Pakistani soldier, Niak Fiaz Mohammad was killed in an IED explosion during house-to-house search operation in North Waziristan Agency. The funeral was offered at Bannu, and the body was sent to his hometown Mansehra. DG ISPR Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa lauded Niak, "We salute the courage and bravery of Niak Fiaz Shaheed."[67]
  • Another Pakistani soldier belonging to Azad Kashmir was killed in Jord area of North Waziristan. The soldier named Sadheer Ismail belonged to Malsi Ghari Dupatta of AJK, he was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard. The Pakistan Army personnel attended the funeral prayers whereas his friends commended him for his determination and resolve.[68]

5 July[edit]

  • Air strikes targeted Miranshah town and Boya village, destroying 5 militant hideouts, caves and ammunition cache. The strikes killed score of militants, and were carried out in early morning strikes. Most of the militants killed were reported to be Uzbeks.[69]
  • A Pakistani soldier was killed during the ground offensive, when an IED exploded that morning.[69]

6 July[edit]

  • It was reported that the hundreds of Taliban fighters cut hair and beards to flee the assault. The IDPs revealed that the Taliban disguised themselves with new haircuts in the weeks before the Pakistan Army assault. While the militants asserted the installation of sharia regime in Pakistan and had contempt for the Western world, it was revealed by the refugees that in North Waziristan, the militants engaged with fanciful imported goods.[5][70]

7 July[edit]

  • The Pakistani Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, visited North Waziristan. He was received by Lieutenant General Khalid Rabbani, Corps commander Peshawar. General Officer Commanding the operation briefed him. He commended the troops for their determination, commitment and resolve and expressed his contentment over the progress achieved so far since start of the operation.[71]

8 July[edit]

  • The Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said in an interview with Radio Pakistan that 400 militants had been so far been killed in the operation. He added that 20 Pakistani soldiers had also been killed. He declined to give a time-frame for the completion of the operation with a resolve to finish the operation as early as possible.[72]
  • Airstrikes were carried out by the PAF jets killing thirteen militants including foreign militants in the Digaan area of North Waziristan, according to ISPR press release. Seven militant hideouts were also destroyed, the press release added.[73][74]

9 July[edit]

  • Pakistani air strikes targeted three militant hideouts killing 11 militants in Shawal.[75]
  • The ground operation continued in Miranshah, whereas 80 percent of Miranshah had been cleared so far.[75]

10 July[edit]

  • The Pakistani army allowed local and international media personnel to visit Miranshah and to see the militant facilities. Militant flags, weapons and explosive materials were displayed to the media. The ISPR director Major General Asim Bajwa and Operation Commander Major General Zafar Khan briefed the media regarding the operational progress. They said that up to 400 terrorists were killed and another 130 had been injured so far. 11 IED factories had been discovered and over 2,000 IEDs were found from these factories. Bajwa said that the underground tunnels constructed by the militants had also been discovered, adding that at least one tunnel was a kilometer long. "This (Miranshah) was one of their major base, we have dislodged them from here and now they are on the run, We have also discovered their command and control centre, which would definitely affect their capabilities." Bajwa added.[76]

11 July[edit]

  • A major Taliban commander, Adnan Rashid, and a key al Qaeda commander, Mufti Zubair Marwat and his two guards were captured by the Pakistani security forces in Shakai valley of South Waziristan in injured condition after they tried to escape from the cordoned off North Waziristan, and were shifted to an undisclosed location by an army helicopter. Mufti Zubair was reported to be the brother of Mufti Sajjad Marwat – an al Qaeda spokesman for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Adnan Rashid had planned to flee into Afghanistan.[77] The arrest was confirmed by the TTP.[78]

12 July[edit]

  • The air force launched airstrikes early morning killing 13 militants, mostly foreigners, after the militants fired rockets on security check post in Mirali. 7 hideouts and ammunition cache were destroyed.[8][79]
  • Incorporation of cleared area in Miranshah and Miranshah- Dattakhel road continued. In Khar Warsak and Zartangi, the security forces discovered 6 motorcycle borne IEDs, 2 vehicle borne IEDs, 2 Guns 12.7 mm, 1 Gun 14.5 mm, 3 vehicles, 11 suicide jackets during last 24 hours. Two explosive laden vehicles were also destroyed in air strikes at Degan.[8]
  • Three militants including one Uzbek were arrested from Boya. Two suicide bombers were identified and chased, but they exploded themselves when were encircled by the security forces close to Boya.[8]
  • 18 militants were killed when PAF carried out airstrikes in Mosaki area, 25 kilometres east of Miramshah, and artillery shelling in Kharkamar area, 30 kilometres west of Miramshah. "Six terrorist hideouts and a huge ammunition cache were destroyed and at least 13 militants, mostly Uzbek, were killed in the Saturday morning strikes, five militants were killed and two militant hideouts were destroyed by artillery fire in the Kharkamar area on Saturday night." a security official said.[80]

13 July[edit]

  • Five militant hideouts in Mirali were targeted by the military killing Several militants, as reported by ISPR.[13]

14 July[edit]

  • After gaining full control of Miramshah, ground offensive was launched in Mirali, the second largest town of North Waziristan, and the nearby Boya area.[6]
  • The Pakistani troops killed six militants, two of them suicide bombers, including a Taliban commander Matiullah.[6]

15 July[edit]

  • In a media briefing, Director General ISPR, Major General Asim Bajwa said that 451 militants had been killed and 88 hideouts[81] had been destroyed. He added that 26 soldiers[6] had also been killed in the operation so far.
  • 5 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a fire exchange in and around Mirali, including an officer Captain Akash Rabbani. 2 soldiers were also injured, according to ISPR. 11 insurgents were also killed in the exchange of fire.[82]

16 July[edit]

  • 35 militants were killed in aerial bombing in the Shawal area in the Pakistani airstrikes. "Today, early morning at least 35 fleeing terrorists were killed through aerial strikes in Shawal valley", an ISPR press release read.[83][84]
  • Meanwhile, ground offensive continued in Mirali after the clearance of Miranshah. Airstrikes were also expected in Mirali.[83]

18 July[edit]

  • House to house search was being carried out in areas of Mirali. 4 militants were killed in fire exchange in Mirali and 12 IEDs were neutralized, an IED making factory, cache of ammunition and foreign currency were also seized.[85]

19 July[edit]

  • "The command and control system of terrorists was destroyed in North Waziristan," said the Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif. "There is no place for terrorism in a democratic country," he added.[86]
  • Boya and Degan villages were cleared by the Pakistani military.[85]
  • Ground offensive continued in areas of Mirali.[85]
  • Corps Commander Lieutenant General Khalid Rabbani visited Mirali, Boya and Degan areas and met with the troops, and Relief Work for the IDPs was also underway.[85]

20 July[edit]

  • 28 militants were killed in airstrikes targeting six militant hideouts in the Shawal area of North Waziristan.[87]

American Drone strikes[edit]

The drone strikes which had been halted at the Pakistani government's request, resumed as a result of the operation, after a six-month lull. The following drone strikes took place during the operation:[10]

  • June 11 – Two successive drone strikes in Miramshah killed 16 suspected militants and injured few others. This was 2014's first drone strike, with the previous drone strike occurring on 25 December 2013 in the Qutab Khel area of Miramshah, killing four suspected militants.[10]
  • June 18 – At least six militants were killed in Miramshah.[10]
  • July 10 – A Drone strike in Datta Khel area killed seven militants and injured three others.[10]
  • July 16 - Four missiles were fired in a drone strike in Datta Khel tehsil, two on a house and two on a vehicle, killing 20 militants and injuring five others.[10]
  • July 19 - 11 militants including two commanders were killed in Madakhel Tehsil, Data Khel, North Waziristan. Most of the militants belonged to the Punjabi faction of the Taliban.[11]

Management of displaced civilians[edit]

As a result of the operation, 929,859 displaced civilians were registered by the Pakistani authorities, as of 14 July. These civilians belonged to 80,302 families.[13] Financial support, relief goods and food packages were also being distributed among the refugees.[88][89] 59 donation points were established across Pakistan by the Pakistan Army.[85]

Assistance of foreign countries[edit]

The Foreign Office of Pakistan on 10 July said that the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons was Pakistan's internal matter and restated that Pakistan had not asked for any international assistance. "We have very clear instructions from the prime minister [to not seek external assistance], Pakistan has neither made nor intends to make a request for international assistance. It has been made very clear that all expenditure related to temporarily displaced Pakistanis will be met from our own resources." the Pakistani Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.[90]

  •  United States – United States released an amount of $31 million for the IDPs.[88]. US government further released a fund to the tune of $9.3 million to improve health, hygiene, water, sanitation services to IDPs and to ensure the health of livestock.[91]
  •  United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates government released an assistance of $20.5 million for the IDPs on humanitarian grounds.[88]

Reactions[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Social media[edit]

The decision of the Pakistani military to launch a comprehensive operation was widely supported. Journalists, opinion makers, politicians and other local social media users commended the operation.[92]

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf[edit]

PTI's chairman Imran Khan endorsed the military operation under-way in North Waziristan, as it became clear that the Taliban were not serious in negotiations.[93]

A week before, reiterating his party's stance on peace talks with militants, Imran had said that an offensive in North Waziristan would unite militant forces against the Pakistani state. "Conducting such a military operation when most of the groups in NWA want talks is suicidal," Imran said in a statement, adding that most groups in North Waziristan desire peace talks with the government.[94] The PTI's position changed, as it became clear that the negotiation process was not going anywhere.[94]

Jamat-e-Islami[edit]

One of the leading religious party in Pakistan, Jamat-e-Islami, continued to oppose any kind of operation in North Waziristan. The Emir of JI, Siraj-ul-Haq urged government not to withdraw the option of negotiations with Taliban.[95] He warned that any kind of military operation in North Waziristan would result in a massive human tragedy, saying that it was the duty of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take the nation and its leadership into confidence inside and outside the Parliament before taking such a vital decision regarding the national security.[96]

Muttahida Qaumi Movement[edit]

Muttahida Qaumi Movement's senator Babar Khan Ghauri said, "This is a commendable decision by the government. We have been repeatedly telling the current government that instead of engaging the terrorists in dialogue, government should act against these elements. Karachi has a number of terrorists and it might suffer from a blow back; this should be tackled so Karachi does not have to suffer on account of this."[39]

The MQM head Altaf Hussain welcomed the launch of operation. "I welcome this operation and I am glad that government is supporting the armed forces, those who have not backed the operation must realize that it is a matter of national security. I appeal to them to come on same page by setting aside their political compulsions." he said.[97][98]

Awami National Party[edit]

Awami National Party member Zahid Khan said, "We also held a dialogue previously (during our govt) but that did not produce effective results. We wanted peace and we were okay if that came through dialogue but unfortunately that could not happen. This time, knowing from our experience, we had cautioned the government that dialogue approach would not work. Government should have taken the parliament into confidence before launching the operation but it didn't."[39]

Local tribesmen[edit]

Tribal elders of North Waziristan assured their support to Operation Zarb-e-Azb, according to a statement released by Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa. "Many tribal elders from around Miranshah, Mir Ali, Datta Khel assure support to army operation," Bajwa tweeted. "the tribesmen have assured the army that they would not let the militant to return to the area," he added.[99]

Sunni Ulema Board[edit]

On 22 June 2014, more than 100 Islamic scholars jointly issued a fatwa in support of the operation and declared it as Jihad by quoting a verse from the Quran as "Crushing of the attempts to disrupt peaceful atmosphere in a Muslim state is jihad".[100]

International[edit]

  •  Afghanistan – Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan Janan Mosazai said that his government would give "every possible assistance" to defeat the militants in the operation.[101] A formal request was made to Afghanistan for co-operation with Zarb-e-Azb – sealing the border, etc., whereas according to a Pakistani news source, the Pakistanis eyed Afghanistan's cooperation with suspicion, and knew that Hamid Karzai would actually try to baffle the Pakistani operation.[102]
  •  United Arab Emirates – Interior minister Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that his government will co-operate with Pakistan in the war against the extremists.[103]
  •  United States – The US supported the military operation against the Taliban militants, spokesman of the US Embassy in Pakistan said here on 16 June. The Spokesman said the US supports every step of Pakistan taken for the establishment of peace.[106] The United States had pressured Pakistan for a military operation in North Waziristan for years. The US Congress linked military assistance to Pakistan in the next fiscal year with military operations in North Waziristan in June 2014.[107] Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said that the Pentagon wasn't aware of Pakistan's decision to launch a new offensive in N. Waziristan. "The Pakistan military and the government understand the threat, and they continue to go after that threat," he added.[4][108]
  •  China – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said terrorism was a common problem of China and Pakistan, as militants were enemy of both countries. He added that China fully supports the operation.[109]

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External links[edit]