TTP Challenging the Writ: Military Action and Results

Abstract

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP for short is a loose group of Jihadi organizations, who pursue separate agendas but are united in their bid to challenge the writ of the state in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Their operations are not bound by geographical constraints and extend into the settled areas and other cities and towns of the country. They also have safe havens in Afghanistan. Operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched about two years ago to eliminate the presence of the TTP from North Waziristan. As the Taliban affiliates were pushed back, the operations spread out to flush them out from their new hideouts in the remote and inaccessible outer reaches of the tribal areas.

The military action was undertaken after attempts to negotiate with the Taliban failed. The pre-negotiation demands of the Taliban had become increasingly strident and were meant to weaken the position of the government. The brazen attack on Karachi airport in June 2014 proved to be the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. Zarb-i-Azb has been complemented with Khyber I and II operations.  Along the way, the Taliban have struck back violently. The attacks on soft targets such as Army Public School (APS) Peshawar, Bacha Khan University Charsadda and Gulshan-iIqbal Park in Lahore has hardened the national resolve to bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice. According to the military authorities, Zarb-i-Azb is in the ‘final’ phase of its implementation. The incumbent army chief is determined to complete the mission before his term runs out.

Indubitably, military action has been firm and resolute and the results are already visible in form of a surge in national confidence and return of meaningful Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) such as the proposed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Long term challenges, however, remain. The rehabilitation of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) or the Temporarily Displaced People (TDPs) as the Government likes to call them and the revival of administrative structures and economic activity in the conflict zone would well and truly reflect the government’s success in wresting back control of the areas that were ceded to non-state actors. Military action is only part of the national campaign to defeat the Taliban. The ideology of these violent extremists will truly be defeated through a concerted national plan to reintegrate those following deviant creeds and rehabilitate the victims of this upheaval in a meaningful way. 

* The author is Associate Dean Centre for International Peace and Stability (CIPS), national University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Islamabad.

Who are the TTP?

The Pakistani edition of the Taliban – the TTP – is a loose group of jihadi organizations that pursue their independent agendas but are united under an overarching ideology to defy the writ of the state and create their own areas of influence and authority. The Taliban phenomenon owes its existence to Afghan civil war. After the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989, the warlords went for a desperate power grab. The internecine fighting could not be controlled despite the best efforts of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The rest of the world, particularly the western nations, withdrew in indecent haste, leaving the powerbrokers to fight out for the spoils of war. The rotating system of presidency didn’t last long and the last incumbent Burhanuddin Rabbani refused to vacate the high seat. Opposing warlords fired rockets upon Kabul and reduced it to rubble.   The battle of the warlords left the land bereft of any order. Chaos reigned supreme. It was then that the Taliban emerged on the scene to bring some order into the society. Soon these ragtag group of seminary students banded together to form a militia that would sweep the land and establish a government in Kabul in 1996. The Taliban regime was recognized by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

During their rule the Taliban allowed Osama bin Laden (OBL) and his group of Al Qaeda (AQ) followers to take up residence in Afghanistan.[1] OBL and his cohorts were blamed for the 9/11 attacks on mainland US. To avenge themselves, the US and an alliance of international forces invaded Afghanistan and evicted the Taliban from Kabul. The US military invasion and their prolonged stay in Afghanistan weakened AQ but could not completely defeat the Taliban. Since continued military operations weren’t making any military sense, the bulk of the US forces were withdrawn in 2014. A residual force of nearly 10000 soldiers remains in Afghanistan to support the government in Kabul. The Taliban consider the withdrawal of the Americans as a symbol of their success. They hold sway over large areas in Afghanistan. They claim control 34 of nearly 400 districts. They are particulary active in Farah, Badghis, Ghor, Panjshir, Badakhshan, Baghlan, Helmand, Herat, Kunduz, Nuristan, Sar-e Pul, Paktika, Takhar, Logar, Jowzjan, Faryab, Kandahar and Ghazni.  Their advances in the beginning of 2016 have brought them closer to provincial centers of Baghlan, Helmand and Faryab provinces.[2] A rickety political alliance – the Unity Government in Kabul is desperately seeking to negotiate with the ‘reconcilable’ Taliban through the good office of Pakistan within the framework of the Quadrilateral Talks. The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) comprises China, USA, the Afghan government, Pakistan and the Taliban.

The Taliban movement in Pakistan draws its inspiration from the Afghan Taliban. They see in them a model to emulate. The Afghan Taliban had not only refused to hand over Osama to the US but survived the US led invasion for fifteen years that has been fought in a highly technical battlefield environment, where air- and drone-strikes have largely reduced the need to put boots on ground. Technological disadvantage notwithstanding the Afghan Taliban have managed to bring a large swath of land particularly in the east and south under their control. They have also been able to capture and hold northern cities like Kunduz for weeks on end. A leadership transition from the elusive Mullah Omar to Mullah Akhtar Mansur did cause hiccups but the Afghan Taliban are still holding out as force to be reckoned with.[3]

The Pakistani Taliban operate mainly in the tribal areas, where traditionally the writ of the government is restricted to the roads only. The administrative control of the area was solely in the hands of the political agent (PA) until the military came in. The PA administers a rough and ready form of justice under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), an antiquated colonial legacy that allows a scorched earth policy of collective punishment.[4] The tribesmen were always thorn in the backside of the British colonial rulers. They were punished heavily if they messed with the government functionaries; otherwise they were left to their own devices to lead a wild and independent life in their traditional abodes. FATA was an artificial construct by the colonist to keep the tribesmen out of their hair and to keep a protective buffer zone with Afghanistan. During the days of the Afghan jihad (1979-89), the tribesmen were exposed to international fighters, who came in droves from other parts of the Islamic world to fight alongside their Afghan brothers against the godless Soviets in Afghanistan. These Mujahideen, comprising among others Afghans, Arabs and Chechens were sponsored by the so-called ‘free world’ to achieve their vested political objectives to defeat the Soviet Union. The local population provided them refuge and shelter under the traditional norms of Pashtunwali (the code of the Pashtuns) that makes it incumbent upon a person to provide protection and shelter to anyone asking for it. Soon these fighters struck roots in the land by marrying into locals and raising families. Keeping guests in their houses spawned a new industry of providing board and lodge to foreigners. The payments by the foreign fighters fuelled the local economy. The convenient new way of life suited the local people and their ‘guests.’ Foreign fighters were gladly welcomed into the homes for a suitable rent. Illegal activity like bomb making and brutal killings of opponents and the so-called informers was ignored.

Battle hardened Afghan jihad veterans and a motley crowd of new entrants embarked on their own agendas to wage war against the state and the world at large. Private militias and violent ideologies proliferated in the wild and lawless areas of the FATA. Money, willingly poured by hostile quarters hostile to the state added to the clout and influence of these self-styled commanders. As the time passed, the state sought it convenient to negotiate with some of them at their terms and in other cases created favourites over the others. Many of these militias adopted fancy names to highlight their Islamic and militant identities e.g. Lashkar-i-Islam under Mangal Bagh. Other influential ‘commanders’ were Nek Muhammad, Mullah Nazeer, Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Jalaluddin Haqqani. Some of them were eliminated through drone strikes such as Nek Muhammad (killed 2007),[5] Baitullah Mehsud (killed 2009),[6] and Hakimullah Mehsud (killed 2013).[7] They were other high profile targets that fell prey to the drone attacks.

In 2007, the TTP became an alliance of militant networks formed to unify opposition against the Pakistani military. Their stated objective is to remove the writ of the state from FATA and neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province and introduction of a strict form of shari’a. They are united with the Afghan Taliban in seeking the expulsion of foreign troops from Afghanistan but do not necessarily align themselves with the emerging Islamic State (IS) or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as they see them as contenders to power in their areas of operation. Their preferred partners have been the AQ.  Their allies include the Haqqani network, Tehreek-i- Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi (TNSM or the Organisation to Enforce the Tradition of the Prophet), Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI). They also established an informal means of electing an Emir or leader.[8] Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud were the first two Emirs of the TTP. [9] The current incumbent Maulana Fazlullah (since 7 November 2013), who hails from the settled area of Swat, is hiding in Kunar province of Afghanistan, from where he continues to strike targets inside Pakistan.

The launching of Operation Zarb-i-Azb by the GOP in the tribal areas in 2014 has not only substantially weakened the TTP;[10] it also caused serious splits within its ranks. Some also changed loyalties to join the IS. This trend to leave the TTP and join the IS was more common among the Uzbek and Arabs. Even before the operations began in real earnest many top insurgents moved into Afghanistan. After the operations began, many of them left for Syria and Iraq to fight another holy war. Some slid back into the cities and towns of Pakistan to either go underground or continue their criminal activities under new names and aliases.   

In February 2014, a faction of TTP under Maulana Umar Qasmi broke away to form the Ahrar-ul-Hind, in protest against the TTP’s willingness to negotiate with the GOP. In May 2014 the Mehsud faction of the TTP defected to form a breakaway unit called Tehrik-i-Taliban South Waziristan (TTP-SW) led by Khalid Mehsud. The loss of the Mehsuds, widely seen as the most important group in the TTP, was regarded as a major blow. In the same month, Asmatullah Muawiya, the commander of the Punjabi Taliban, announced that his faction was ending their armed struggle against the Pakistani state. In October 2014, the TTP spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, and the group’s commanders in Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber tribal regions and Peshawar and Hangu Districts defected and pledged allegiance to IS.

In August 2014, hard-line elements of the TTP from four of the seven tribal districts formed a separate group called Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. This group is led by the Mohmand Agency commander Omar Khalid Khorasani. In March 2015, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar’s spokesman announced that they were re-joining the TTP. Almost one year later in the first week of March 2016, at least 17 people were killed in an explosion in the premises of a local court in Charsadda’s Shabqadar area. The Jamat-ul-Ahrar took the responsibility for the attack, as a reaction to the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.[11] A few days later, the group took the responsibility of yet another gruesome bombing that took place in a public park in Lahore.[12] It has been reported in the press that the Jamaatul Ahrar is also involved in an extortion racket in KP province using Afghan Sims.[13] This is a fair indicator that this group of disaffected Taliban is still in business.

Why are they challenging the writ of the state?

The TTP is a paradoxical phenomenon. It identifies itself to the state of Pakistan and yet it is bent on weakening the state, to the extent that they can become absolute rulers in their own enclaves of influence, to run according to their own rigid and anachronistic worldview. Some imbued by religious zeal want to expand their revolutions throughout the country in order to replace the existing form of democracy by one suiting their own ideology. Their mission is not global and they do not speak of internationalizing jihad or creating a universal religious order or khilafa (caliphate), they merely want autonomy within their own their own fiefdoms.  The military intervention has put them on the run and restored confidence among the citizens, who were increasingly forced to follow the dictates of the purveyors of fear and intimidation. The TTP has retaliated by launching hit and run attacks in the settled areas against government buildings, institutions, air, military and naval bases and soft targets like schools and universities. Admittedly each attack has caused fear and trauma among those struck but overall it has not diminished the national resolve to eliminate to stand up to their coercion and intimidation.

Admittedly, the state’s initial reaction to the growing menace of the Taliban was slow. The Government’s inertia can be attributed to a number of things. Many of the Cold War warriors representing the state were held in thrall of the Mujahedeen, who had single handedly defeated the Soviet Union. They had stopped the inexorable advance of the Soviet tanks with their shoulder fired RPGs to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. Ronald Reagan invited them to the White House and described them as the moral equivalent of his country’s founding fathers. In Pakistan they had acquired the status of heroes. They were idolised and eulogised. The state allowed this narrative to develop with wilful acquiescence. Official and non-official media referred to them as ‘fighters’ instead of ‘terrorists.’ Their strikes were accepted as morally justified. Some religious leaders stated that soldiers dying in the fighting did not deserve a burial. When the Mujahedeen were replaced by the Taliban, the later were hailed as well meaning young men, who had restored peace and stability in their war torn country. The Americans pandered to their wishes and wanted to do an oil deal with them. This meant inviting a delegation for a trip to the US to witness firsthand the technological might and splendour of the only superpower of the world.[14] It was only after the Taliban started playing host to the AQ that they started losing credibility. The 9/11 attacks on mainland US pushed them into international maelstrom of scorn and forced Pakistan to take a U turn on their former allies. The attack on Afghanistan created new groups located on the Pakistani side. These were initially fighting the foreign troops in Afghanistan but with time they also turned their guns against their unwilling hosts – the state of Pakistan.

Again the response of the GOP was lackadaisical. The state operatives twiddled their thumbs as the Taliban more powerful and assertive. State functionaries with increasing frequency began to engage with even minor Taliban chieftains for short term breathing space. They signed treaties and exchanged gifts only to see their pledges blown up in smoke. Small scale operations were launched to regain some space but there was no coherent policy of how to deal with them. The US, meanwhile, accused Pakistan of providing them with safe havens and targeted high value targets with Hellfire antitank missiles mounted on Predator and Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).   The drone-kill tally kept mounting, as military intelligence agencies picked up more of these men in the cities and towns of Pakistan and renditioned them to the Americans. There was, however, no dearth of them. Like a multi headed hydra, each head chopped off was replaced by a newer one, even more virulent than the previous one.   The Taliban leadership and their cadres were able to withstand the combined onslaught of the US and the Pakistani forces. Given the porous nature of the border they could conveniently flit across it without being detected. The will of the state throughout lacked the determination that was needed to wipe out this menace. Operations were launched and the Taliban were pushed back sometimes into Afghanistan but each time they would come back after the areas were vacated after having been cleared. The state’s unwillingness to hold out areas being cleared allowed them a sense of impunity that this time shall also pass. The hide and seek game continued. Out of desperation the Government wanted to negotiate with them. Some mainstream political parties actually encouraged a political approach to the problem. However, all efforts at appeasement came to a naught.

What has the military action achieved so far?

            After the TTP began to challenge the writ of the state, a number of military operations were launched to contain their growing influence in the area. There was, however, no any clear-cut national consensus or a unified vision on the subject of how to give a political, economic and administrative framework to the military prong of the national strategy. At times these operations were undertaken under pressure to placate the Americans, who were breathing down the necks of the GOP, pushing them ‘to do more’ or the aid being doled out would be put on hold. At other times it was under public pressure. The first major operation was Rah-i-Rast (the True Path) in Swat Valley was undertaken after video clips went viral on the social media, showing a young girl being publicly lashed by the Taliban for loose morals in a public square in Mingora, the capital of the former princely state of Swat. This rough justice dispensed by misguided misogynists, only 250 kilometre away from the nation’s capital Islamabad, sent shivers up the spines of the civil society. In a kneejerk reaction, the Government ordered the Army to clear the 200 kilometre long picturesque Valley of miscreants. In a lightning move two infantry divisions evicted the Taliban and re-established the writ of the government. The dire possibility of the Taliban regaining control has prevented the withdrawal of the Army from Swat.[15]

            The second major operation dubbed Rah-i-Nijat (the Path to Salvation) was directed against a pocket of militant Mehsud tribesmen, controlling the South Waziristan Agency (SWA). Before launching the operations the militant tribesmen were given one last chance to lay down their arms.[16] As expected the Mehsud preferred to give battle to the government troops. Operating on multiple axes it didn’t take the army long to clear SWA.[17] One element in favour of the military operation in the SWA was the fact that more than half the population of the Wazir tribesmen in the agency was not supporting the Mehsuds in their anti-state activities. There was a clamour for extending the operations into North Waziristan Agency (NWA) by the Americans. Pakistan Army resisted the pressure. They were over extended and didn’t want to rush headlong into a new military adventure before they were sure of their own footing.

             Before another resort to the military instrument, the political parties wanted some kind of negotiations with the Taliban to avoid more bloodshed.  With the political and religious parties seemingly on their side, the Taliban felt emboldened. Before the negotiations could begin, they wanted all prisoners to be released and the military to withdraw from FATA. These demands were unrealistic and weren’t providing any space for discussions. As the negotiating teams mulled for realistic options, in June 2014 the Taliban attacked Jinnah International airport in the country’s commercial hub Karachi. The army became restless. This state of affairs could not continue forever. The Taliban were incorrigible and ought to be taught a lesson. Out of the political indecisiveness was born Operation Zarb-i-Azb. With a bold new military commander in saddle, the operations began in the NWA soon after. The operation expanded and moved into other agencies like the Shawal and Khyber. Subsidiary operations Khyber I and II were launched to clear the Khyber Agency. The operations made slow progress. Pushed out of their home grounds, the Taliban resisted the advancing army. They had to be evicted one by one. There weren’t any prisoners. Most of the time it was only a few dead bodies that were left behind as the Taliban withdrew under a hail of intense fire. Meanwhile, they also continued to make forays into the main cities and towns of Pakistan. After the attack on APS Peshawar on 16 December 2014, on the military’s insistence, all parties sat together to cobble out a National Action Plan (NAP) to deal with the issue of terrorism. The 20 point plan has so far got mixed reviews.[18] There is a general feeling that the army’s seriousness on the issue is not being matched by the politicians.  

As a part of his legacy, the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif wants to complete the counter terrorism operations during his watch.[19] His term expires in November 2016. As part of the overarching military strategy to completely defeat the terrorists, the Army has already launched the last phase of the operation, in February this year. In a Corps Commanders’ meeting held in Rawalpindi in the middle of March 2016, the top brass of the Pakistan Army declared that the military offensive in tribal areas had entered its final phase and that it would conclude soon. The troops, it was said, were consolidating the area cleared of the militants in a way that it did not fall back into their hands again.[20] As per reports many TTP leaders and cadres have been killed or wounded in the ground action and the aerial bombardment. Exact figures are unknown because journalists and independent observers are not allowed in the frontline. It is, however, believed that most of the insurgents have retreated into remote and inaccessible areas to fight a rearguard action.

The military has targeted the remaining Taliban hideouts on Pakistani territory accurately. Through sustained ground and aerial operations, they have taken apart their command and control structures; destroyed bomb-making apparatus; dismantled schools for potential suicide bombers dismantled seized suicide jackets; recovered huge caches of arms and ammunitions and demolished caves and tunnels, where these were cached. According to military sources, more than 90 per cent of the militancy infested area has been cleared. Major terrorist hubs in Mana, Gurbaz, Lataka, Inzarkas and Magroti are no more. The writ of the government has been restored in 4304 square kilometres of North Waziristan Agency and 640 square kilometres of Shawal, as the battle to clear last pockets on the Pakistan Afghan border continues.[21]

What the armed forces of Pakistan have been able to achieve thus far is remarkable. They have been in a state of war of over a dozen years. In any other country they would have been a broken and fatigued force. In case of Columbia for instance the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army or Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) rules most of the countryside.[22] It is a similar story in Afghanistan, where the Taliban control large swathes of land. According to conservative estimates they control two third of the land. That is not the case in Pakistan. The Army has fought professionally, a genre of warfare that has not been germane to their operational thought process. They have emerged a battle hardened and resilient force that despite taking huge causalities in man and materiel had been resilient and robust. They have found imaginative solutions and have not been afraid of drawing first blood.  

The military operations have yielded positive results. Vast swathes of insurgency ridden areas have been reclaimed but years of fighting between government forces and non-state actors has caused massive destruction to the infrastructure and led to tragic human displacement. After the first round of major military operations in early 2009, approximately 3 million people were displaced. A large number of them lost their homes and livelihoods. The crisis not only affected the TDPs but also those who chose to stay behind. The majority of TDPs from the 2009 militancy crisis returned to their homes. The second round of major cleanup in June 2014 displaced approximately 340,000 families in five FATA Agencies. The return of these TDPs has been slow and patchy. Till June 2015, only 38,000 families voluntarily returned to FATA.[23] Lately, the government is feeling more confident and hopes to complete the repatriation process by November 2016. Rs 13 billion have been released for this purpose. According to the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), which deals with refugees and displaced people, so far 285,400 displaced families have been repatriated to their native towns in FATA. Each family is being provided an amount of 35,000 rupees for the move back. [24] Whether they will be able to rebuild a shattered life with this amount is quite another matter.

It has also been reported that the return of the displaced people of FATA to various agencies has been uneven e.g. there has been a high rate of return to Khyber Agency – almost 90 per cent – and exceedingly low to South Waziristan Agency – about 15 per cent. There can be many reasons. Obviously security and job opportunities are top concerns. If the prospective returnees find the environment unsafe, they will not return and if they have been able to land good jobs in their new locations, they will not like to dislodge themselves for an uncertain future. [25] Unless the government has a long term policy concerning the return of the displace people, the entire effort of resettling the displaced people will go waste.

How can the writ of the state be truly restored?

            Clearing the area of militants is only part of the problem. The real challenge is to ensure that peace and stability return to the area. As in Swat and indeed the rest of the country, the challenge is much bigger. The writ of the state can only be restored in the true sense of the word if the instruments of governance are restored. Infrastructure that has been destroyed is rebuilt; schools are reopened; law and order is reintroduced in a manner that nobody can challenge the instruments of the state in a casual manner. Any remote possibility of the area being reoccupied by revisionary forces must be completely stopped. The faith of the confidence of the public has to be restored and job opportunities created before people start moving back to reclaim their homes and hearth.

            Another important matter is reintegrating the former radicals into the mainstream society. It is a very difficult process to disabuse those subscribing to violent ideologies to give up on their belief system and to rejoin a system that they had spurned. It has been difficult in the past and it is going to be even more difficult now. Many former adherents to lost causes have preferred to fade away from life as broken men, living in a distant past in which imbued by romantic notions they took upon the state to extract revenge of their perceived relative deprivations. The Taliban, who have surrendered or who have laid down their arms must be trained and equipped to lead a new life. 

            A substantial amount of money has been allocated for the return of the TDPs to their native homes. More monies are required to rebuild and rehabilitate the areas destroyed by conflict. Meanwhile the army will have to remain in the area before adequately trained and equipped paramilitary forces are constituted to replace them. One of the lawmakers had said that the military forces may well remain in FATA till 2019.[26] Actually it may take longer for stability to return and normal life to resume.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abbas, Hasan. The Taliban Revival: Violence and Extremism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier (Yale University Press, 2014).

Abbasi, Kashif. “Chronology of Military Operations.” Dawn. June 16, 2014, http://www.dawn.com/news/1112980.

Akbar, Ali. “Suicide bomber kills 17 at Charsadda court, TTP Jamatul Ahrar claims responsibility.” Dawn. March 7, 2016. http://www.dawn.com/news/1244116.

“Army chief stresses ‘consolidation of long-term gains’ at corps commanders meet.” Dawn. March 14, 2016.

Babakhel, Mohammad Ali. “Reviewing NAP.” Dawn. January 24, 2016. http://www.dawn.com/news/1234992/reviewing-nap

Bergen, Peter & Daniel Rothenberg (eds.). Drone Wars: Transforming Conflict, Law, and Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

CFR Backgrounder on FARC and ELN. http://www.cfr.org/colombia/farc-eln-colombias-left-wing-guerrillas/p9272.

Cleary, Tom. “Jamaat-ul-Ahrar: Terror Group Takes Credit for Pakistan Bombing.” Heavy.com. March 27, 2016. http://heavy.com/news/2016/03/what-is-jamaat-ul-ahrar-lahore-pakistan-bombing-terror-attack-group-isis-taliban-responsibility-credit-islamist-omar-khorasani/.

Coll, Steve. Ghost War: The Secret History of CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004).

“Extortion Menace in Peshawar to be raised with Kabul.” Dawn. April 3, 2016. Vol. LXX, No. 94, 1.

Gul, Ayaz. “Taliban Claims Large Swath of Afghan Territory During 2015. VOA. http://www.voanews.com/content/taliban-afghanistan-territorial-claims-2015/3128415.html.

 “Govt releases Rs13b.” The Frontier Post. March 3, 2016, http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/378617 /govt-releases-rs13b/.

Grassi, Daniele. “The State of Terrorism in PakistanOperation Zarb-e-Azb accelerated TTP fracturing, but must face radicalization from forces like the Islamic State.” The Diplomat. September 08, 2014. http://thediplomat.com/2014/09/the-state-of-terrorism-in-pakistan/.

Mazzetti, Mark. The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth (New York: Penguin Books, 2014).

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“Military to stay in FATA till 2019: Rohail Asghar.” Tribal News Network (TNN). September 4, 2015. http://www.radiotnn.com/military-to-stay-in-fata-till-2019-rohail-asghar/.

No PR428/2009-ISPR, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=947.

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Rashid. Ahmed. Taliban: The Power of Militant Islam in Afghanistan and Beyond (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2010).

Sherazi, Zahir Shah. “Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud killed in drone attack,” Dawn. November 2, 2013. http://www.dawn.com/news/1053410.

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[1] For the genesis of the Taliban, read Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: The Power of Militant Islam in Afghanistan and Beyond (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2010).

[2] Ayaz Gul, “Taliban Claims Large Swath of Afghan Territory During 2015,” VOA, http://www.voanews.com/content/taliban-afghanistan-territorial-claims-2015/3128415.html (accessed April 4, 2016).

[3] Read about the revival of the Taliban phenomenonin Hasan Abbas, The Taliban Revival: Violence and Extremism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier (Yale University Press, 2014).

[4] The Frontier Crimes Regulations, 1901, www.pakistansocietyofcriminology.com/laws/THE FRONTIERCRIMESREGULATIONS (accessed March 21, 2016).

[5] Mark Mazzetti, The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), 102.

[6] Peter Bergen & Daniel Rothenberg (eds.), Drone Wars: Transforming Conflict, Law, and Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 94.

[7] Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud killed in drone attack,” Dawn, November 2, 2013, http://www.dawn.com/news/1053410 (accessed March 7, 2016).

[8] TTP – National Counter Terrorism Center, http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/ttp.html (accessed March 3, 2016).

[9] Peter Bergen & Daniel Rothenberg (eds.), Drone Wars: Transforming Conflict, Law, and Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 94.

[10] Daniele Grassi, “The State of Terrorism in PakistanOperation Zarb-e-Azb accelerated TTP fracturing, but must face radicalization from forces like the Islamic State,” The Diplomat, September 08, 2014, http://thediplomat.com/2014/09/the-state-of-terrorism-in-pakistan/ (accessed March 7, 2016).

[11] Ali Akbar, “Suicide bomber kills 17 at Charsadda court, TTP Jamatul Ahrar claims responsibility,” Dawn, March 7, 2016, http://www.dawn.com/news/1244116 (accessed March 21, 2016).

[12] Tom Cleary, “Jamaat-ul-Ahrar: Terror Group Takes Credit for Pakistan Bombing,” Heavy.com, March 27, 2016, http://heavy.com/news/2016/03/what-is-jamaat-ul-ahrar-lahore-pakistan-bombing-terror-attack-group-isis-taliban-responsibility-credit-islamist-omar-khorasani/ (accessed March 31, 2016).

[13] “Extortion Menace in Peshawar to be raised with Kabul,” Dawn, April 3, 2016, Vol. LXX, No. 94,1.

[14] Steve Coll, Ghost War: The Secret History of CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 345.

[15] Kashif Abbasi, “Chronology of Military Operations,” Dawn, June 16, 2014, http://www.dawn.com/news/1112980 (accessed March 7, 2016).

[16] Message of General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani to militant Mehsud tribesmen to lay down their arms, October 19, 2009, PR429/2009/ISPR, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=947 (accessed March 7, 2016).

[17] No PR428/2009-ISPR, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=947 (accessed March 7, 2016).

[18] Mohammad Ali Babakhel, “Reviewing NAP,” Dawn, January 24, 2016, http://www.dawn.com/news/1234992/reviewing-nap (accessed April 6, 2016).

[19] “Army Chief vows to eliminate terrorism,” Radio Pakistan, http://www.radio.gov.pk/newsdetail/83647/1 (accessed April 4, 2016).

[20] “Army chief stresses ‘consolidation of long-term gains’ at corps commanders meet,” Dawn, March 14, 2016.

[21] “Pak Army has cleared over 43000 Square Kilometres area in North Waziristan,” Radio Pakistan, April 3, 2016, http://www.radio.gov.pk/newsdetail/72986/2 (accessed April 3, 2016).

[22] Read CFR Backgrounder on FARC and ELN, http://www.cfr.org/colombia/farc-eln-colombias-left-wing-guerrillas/p9272 (accessed March 7, 2016).

[23] Pakistan – FATA Temporarily Displaced Persons Emergency Recovery Project (Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group, 2015), http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2015/08/24924169/pakistan-fata-temporarily-displaced-persons-emergency-recovery-project (accessed March 7, 2016)

[24] “Govt releases Rs13b,” The Frontier Post, March 3, 2016, http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/378617 /govt-releases-rs13b/ (accessed March 21, 2016).

[25] “Waiting to go home,” Dawn, March 22, 2016, http://www.dawn.com/news/1247176/waiting-to-go-back-home (accessed March 22, 2016).

[26] “Military to stay in FATA till 2019: Rohail Asghar,” Tribal News Network (TNN), September 4, 2015,

http://www.radiotnn.com/military-to-stay-in-fata-till-2019-rohail-asghar/ (accessed March 21, 2016).

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