As the Pakistani military enters its first full day of combat since launching its offensive against the Taliban-styled factions in the Buner District, the resistance has been far more fierce than anyone had predicted.
The Pakistani military, with its helicopter gunships and swarms of paramilitary forces, claim to have killed over 50 “miscreants” so far. But last night’s reports about the capture of members of the Frontier Corps (FC) appear to have been accurate, with military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas confirming that as many as 70 security forces from both the FC and the police have been captured, and militants have outright occupied three police stations in the district.
The military has reportedly occupied the town of Daggar, however, and its forces are engaging in surrounding areas. Still, the battle for the district, which the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) took control over last week, seems far from over.
The TTP presence in the district, leaving it a stone’s throw from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, sewed panic across the nation, and led the United States to condemn the peace treaty Pakistan had set up in the nearby Swat Valley. Rebel cleric Sufi Muhammad helped negotiate a withdrawal from Buner, but even as he led a group of TTP to Mingora, members of the faction, which the group says were new recruits, have remained.