The Pakistani Frontier Corps (FC) announced a military offensive against “troubled” portions of the Khyber Agency only yesterday, and are now claiming massive numbers of “suspects” rounded up in the raids.
Officials today claimed that the offensive against Bara Tehsil, the Pashtun portion of the tribal area, had netted 2,500 “suspects” who are now in custody. That’s a significant portion of the overall population of the sparsely inhabited region.
Bara is the birthplace of the Lashkar-e Islam (LeI), an active militant faction in Khyber. It is common for Pakistan to launch major offensives against the tehsil, and mass civilian casualties have been reported.
Khyber and the rest of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are not considered formal “provinces” in Pakistan, and have historically been treated as an underclass by the Pakistani government, with offensives regularly ordered against tribes seen as insufficiently loyal to the current government. The FC are designed specifically to operate in FATA and are organized as irregular troops commanded by the Pakistani Army.