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13 December 2017 10:55 (South Africa)

If you can’t protect your HQ, bomb your opponents instead?

Pakistani jets yesterday bombed targets in insurgent strongholds near the Afghan border as a precursor to their expected border region ground offensive. The recent series of deadly attacks by militants, including the siege on the Pakistani army HQ and a suicide assault that killed 41 people in the northwest, have strengthened the army's resolve to launch the imminent offensive. The army says 80% of the attacks in Pakistan come from South Waziristan, and the Americans are now saying that insurgent leaders causing the violence in Afghanistan are also based in the remote area. For the past three months, jets have been bombing targets in the region, the military has been trying to cut off militants’ supply lines, and gain support of groups that had previously agreed not to mount attacks. As an indication of the militants’ range, helicopter gunships killed 26 insurgents in Bajur, a tribally administered region 300km north of Waziristan, which the army had previously declared free of insurgents. Guess it wasn’t after all.

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