Despite what has been a shocking lack of progress in capturing or killing militant leaders since the invasion began, the Pakistani military today announced that it was claiming victory in South Waziristan and that the militants had been “wiped out.”
Pakistan began the South Waziristan invasion in October, initially encountering heavy resistance, but eventually the conflict quieted down. The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan’s leadership disappeared shortly after the offensive began, moving into Orakzai, Khyber, and other nearby areas.
The military says that troops kill remain in South Waziristan, for now, and that they expect that the refugees from the conflict will be able to return soon. They did not give a timetable for exit from the region.
Exactly what the declaration means in the near term is unclear, but military officials have repeatedly said they would not invade North Waziristan until after the end of the South Waziristan offensive. With the offensive at least nominally over, it could set the stage for the next invasion.