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Some questions about the North Waziristan operation

Some questions about the North Waziristan operation

I do not know the answers to these questions:

1. Which groups are being targeted?

2. Which groups are not being targeted? What does it say that the likes of JuD have explicitly come out in support of the operation?

3. What are the strategic goals, if any, meant to be accomplished by this operation? Is this employment of force “to bring the enemy to the table,” or to enable a better bargain on the table, or to degrade the enemy’s military capabilities without necessarily being attentive to political implications, or a full-blown “clear, hold, build” COIN-ish model?

4. What tactical and operational lessons, if any, has the military learned since the 2009 operations? To what extent are the on-the-ground exigencies comparable to 2009?

5. What level of planning has gone into this operation? As a baseline, the civilian government seemed woefully unprepared for its chosen strategy when it began talks with the TTP earlier this year. Is the military likely to be better prepared, worse prepared, or about the same? In other words, have they been doing their homework?

6. Why now? The timing seems suspiciously suggestive of a motive of “revenge” or “to send a message” in response to the Karachi airport attack. Is that really it?

7. What is the level of preparation and coordination for the settlement of internal refugees?

8. What is the level of preparation and coordination for the inevitable militant backlash in (a) KP, and (b) major cities outside KP?

9. To what extent is this newfound “consensus” on the need for force a purely manufactured one, generated by GHQ through its usual ways? Will this consensus last as long as the operation?

Pyarey

Also, everyone should read Cyril’s column.

About Ahsan Butt

Assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason.

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