Over four months after the Pakistani military formally declared victory in the long, bloody offensive in the tiny Bajaur Agency, the low level violence that never really subsided in the region took another turn for the worse today after militants ambushed an army convoy and military shelling of a village left at least 20 dead.
Just yesterday, suspected Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in the agency’s major city of Khar, killing at least four and temporarily taking control of the post, before military forces drove them off.
The Bajaur offensive began in mid-2008, and drove over two-thirds of the agency’s population from their homes into refugee camps on the outskirts of nearby Peshawar. The agency is on the outskirts of the Swat Valley, which this year became the sight of a much larger offensive that drove millions from their homes.
The claim of victory in Bajaur was difficult to defend even at the time. The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) of the area declared a unilateral ceasefire at the behest of the tribesmen in the area, the military shelled a few hideouts and declared the battle over. The TTP had declared ceasefires previously, but ongoing military operations eventually led them to abandon those as well.