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Spinkai is a town in South Waziristan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan. This semi-autonomous area is inhabited by Pashtun tribe Mahsud. In January 2008, Pakistan Army launched Operation Zalzala to flush out the Taliban militants belonging to Baitullah Mehsud group
On 20 May 2008, the Pakistani Army conducted collective punishment against Spinkai. The operation was called 'zalzala' which is Urdu for earthquake. At first, the Pakistan Army swept through with helicopter gunships, artillery and tanks that crunched across a parched riverbed. After four days of heavy fighting, 25 militants and six soldiers died. The rest of the militants retreated up the valley. After the capture of the village the army discovered bomb factories, detonation-ready suicide jackets and schools for teenage suicide bombers.
The Pakistan Army immediately decided to punish the village for harboring the Taliban and allowing the militants to operate in and from the village to conduct further terror attacks in Pakistan. Bulldozers and explosives experts turned Spinkai's bazaar into a mile-long pile of rubble. Petrol stations, shops, and even parts of the hospital were levelled or blown up. The villagers were forbidden from returning to their homes.
Pakistani commanders, who were speaking to the media, insisted they had been merciful in their application of "collective punishment" - a practice invented by the British who demarcated the tribal areas over a century ago.
- Declan Walsh (May 20, 2008). "Demolished by the Pakistan army: the frontier village punished for harbouring the Taliban". The Guardian. guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- "In pictures: Pakistan's most feared militant". BBC News. news.bbc.co.uk. 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-06-30.