KARACHI — Following in the footsteps of their leaders, thousands of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters are fleeing South Waziristan to take refuge elsewhere, experts said on Nov. 11.
“More than 5,000 Taliban have moved from South Waziristan to North Waziristan and adjoining tribal areas,” said Zahid Khan, senator of the Awami National Party (ANP), by telephone from Peshawar. Before the start of operation, 10,000 militants were estimated to be in South Waziristan.
After completing operations in Ladha and Makeen, the military should be able to chase TTP leaders and their fighters in North Waziristan and adjacent tribal areas, Khan said. Without eliminating the Taliban from Pakistan’s land, it will be impossible to maintain peace and security in the country. All political parties in Pakistan must support military operations to discourage militancy, he added.
As they fled, some TTP commanders ordered their militants to stay in South Waziristan, but a majority ignored them and gradually migrated to safer places, a security analyst in Peshawar said. The sudden departure of thousands of militants created a split in the ranks of TTP and weakened their resistance.
Meanwhile, Corps Commanders of Pakistan’s Army reviewed their operational preparedness Nov. 11 and expressed their satisfaction with the success of the operation in South Waziristan, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani condemned the spate of terrorist attacks on civilians and termed it an act of cowardice and frustration, the ISPR statement added. Kayani said that since terrorists were incapable of confronting the military, they were targeting innocent civilians instead.
ISPR also reported that the military has taken control of 70 percent of Taliban areas in South Waziristan.