Speaking during a visit to Malaysia, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi touted the military’s “success” in the ongoing South Waziristan offensive, and predicted that final victory would be achieved by mid-December. He insisted the insurgents haven’t put up much resistance.
Qureshi and the rest of the Pakistani government appear to have an endless wellspring of optimism about their assorted military offensives, but the reality on the ground appears to be starkly different.
Far from sweeping through the region, the military has seized only a handful of places on the South Waziristan Agency’s periphery. Their first week and a half saw only one village and a hilltop captured, amid heavy fighting, and since then they report having taken 50% of another village.
The first village was remote and had little strategic value, but was seen as key because the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan’s leader was born there. The new village is held by a pro-government tribe, leaving the question of why they’re bothering to attack it in the first place.
Pakistan has a long history of premature declarations of victory, with officials insisting the war in Swat Valley would be over in “two to three days” for a solid month, and then continuing to fight battles in the region for four months after that.