The AfPak Reader

September 15, 2009

Mainlining Bill Roggio – Summer 2009 – Week 11 – Volume 3

Filed under: Defense News,Enemy Profiles,Summer 2009 — huntingnasrallah @ 8:14 pm

Mainlining Bill Roggio – Summer 2009 – Week 11 – Volume 3

Pakistani military launches operation in Khyber
By Bill Roggio
September 1, 2009 10:36 AM

The Pakistani military has launched an operation against extremists operating in the Khyber tribal agency. The operation was launched after a suicide bomber killed 22 border guards at the Torkham crossing last week.

More than 40 extremists were killed, including two commanders, and another 43 were captured, according to Tariq Hayat, the Political Agent for Khyber. Three “militant bases” were destroyed, according to a press release by the paramilitary Frontier Corps, while an indefinite curfew has been imposed in the region.

The military is relying heavily on artillery and Cobra helicopter gunships instead of engaging the extremists on the ground, according to reports received by The Long War Journal. Only three soldiers have been wounded during the operation, claims the military.

The military would not name the group or groups that are the target of the operation. According to Geo News the operation “is being carried out against miscreants not against any specific person or a group.”

The operation was launched in the Bara region in Khyber, the stronghold of the Lashkar-e-Islam, a pro-Taliban group led by Mangal Bagh Afridi. He is reported to be listed by the interior ministry as one of the top ten most-wanted extremist leaders. During the operation, the father of a Lashkar-e-Islam commander was detained, and a spokesman for the group has called for the military to end the offensive.

Two other extremist groups are known to operate in the region. The Ansar-ul-Islam, a rival extremist group, operates in Khyber, as does the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Hakeemullah Mehsud, the new leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, commanded forces in Khyber and was behind many of the attacks against NATO supply convoys moving through the region.

Operations in Khyber since 2008

The current offensive in Khyber is the latest in a series of clearing operations in the strategic tribal agency since June 2008.

The June 2008 operation purportedly targeted the Lashkar-e-Islam, the Ansar-ul-Islam, and a small group called the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. These three groups were banned by the government, and the military began rounding up members and destroying hideouts.

But Haji Namdar, the leader of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice who allied with Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-e-Islam, was seen riding along with the Frontier Corps. “He was taken along to ensure that encounters with militants were kept to a minimum,” the Asia Times reported. Government officials stated at the onset of the operation that the offensive would be limited in scope and was a “show of force.”

Ten days after the operation began, the government signed a peace agreement with the Lashkar-e-Islam. All prisoners taken captive during the operation were released.

The military also launched operations in Khyber in December 2008 and January 2009 in an attempt to clear the Taliban and allied extremists groups from the region, relieve pressure on the provincial capital of Peshawar, and keep the Khyber Pass open to traffic moving to and from Afghanistan. In July, Pakistani aircraft conducted strikes against Taliban camps in Khyber’s Tirah Valley.

Despite these operations, the Taliban succeeded in forcing the closure the Khyber Pass seven times since September 2007. More 700 NATO supply and fuel trucks, as well as vehicles and equipment, have been destroyed in a series of attacks in Khyber and neighboring Peshawar. The Khyber Pass is NATO’s main conduit for supplies into Afghanistan; more than 70 percent of the supplies move through this strategic crossing point.
Extended Notes (Roggio’s Links)

GEO Pakistan
40 extremists killed, 43 nabbed: PA Tariq
Updated at: 1753 PST, Tuesday, September 01, 2009

BARA: At least 40 extremists have been killed and 43 others arrested, Geo News reported Tuesday.

Talking to Geo News, Tariq Hayat Political Agency Khyber Agency said the action is underway against those who challenge the writ of the government.

The political agency said the operation is being carried out against miscreants not against any specific person or a group, adding the dead terrorists include two important commanders Murad and Habibur Rehman.

Tariq Hayat said three security personnel were injured in the operation, adding the operation will continue until Bara is cleared.



Forces destroy three militant bases in Khyber
Tuesday, 01 Sep, 2009 | 12:27 PM PST |

PESHAWAR: Government forces destroyed three militant bases and killed five insurgents Tuesday in Pakistan’s northwestern border region, the military said.
Two militant commanders were among those killed in the dawn raids in the Khyber region, a statement from the Frontier Corps said. It said 25 suspected militants were captured in the operation, which was continuing.



GEO Pakistan
Govt, tribal Jirga sign peace agreement
Updated at: 2250 PST, Wednesday, July 09, 2008

PESHAWAR: Militants and political administration signed a peace pact Wednesday after a 10-day operation to clear the area of militants.

The agreement was signed by officials from the Khyber district administration and an 18-member group of tribal elders, who held talks with militant leader Mangal Bagh a day earlier.

A 13-member peace committee of tribal elders and Khyber administration officials has been formed to ensure the implementation of the pact which was signed in Peshawar.

It was assured to the government that Laskar-e-Islam has accepted the writ of the government in the area.

All religious groups would remain peaceful and the display of weapons in the region’s main town of Bara would be banned.

The main market in Bara has been reopened since the agreement was signed and a curfew on the town lifted.



Twenty militants killed in Khyber air strike
By Ibrahim Shinwari
Monday, 27 Jul, 2009 | 07:53 PM PST |

LANDI KOTAL: A boy was killed and three others were injured when military helicopters shelled a suspected hideout of the banned Lashkar-i-Islam outfit in Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency on Monday.

(According to AFP, the helicopters killed 20 militants and destroyed four hideouts, including a training centre for suicide bombers in Tirah valley, 35km southwest of Landi Kotal.

‘Military helicopters shelled militant hideouts in the afternoon, killing 20 rebels and destroying four of their hideouts,’ a spokesman for the Frontier Corps, Major Fazal-ur-Rehman, said, adding that the air strikes were ordered after an intelligence tip-off.

Death tolls officially released are impossible to confirm in areas that are remote and largely cut off from independent media coverage.)

Sources said that three helicopters shelled Daras Jumat, a mosque in Akakhel area, near Bara, killing the boy and injuring three others. A vehicle and two shops were destroyed.

The mosque, believed to be a stronghold of Lashkar-i-Islam, was damaged. “ashkar sources said their organisation had nothing to do with the mosque.


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