On Monday, Al Jazeera reported a spokesman for the Tehrik-I-Taliban claimed responsibility for only some of the devastating bombings in Pakistan, laying the blame for over a hundred deaths on President Zardari‘s political party, the intelligence agencies and Blackwater.
In the midst of the ridiculousness of the claim lies a silent hope for the future. What we are seeing is an extremist lashing out at the federal government, the ISI and any foreign group he can think of. His argument proves the Taliban are indeed at their wits’ end.
As they should be.
Soldiers have advanced faster than expected in this month-long offensive, with many of the main roads and bases seized immediately. Local villages and towns have been cleared, with the federal government deploying food, clothing, shelter to the displaced persons.
According to chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, “After taking complete control of the roads and the tracks, we are going to chase them in the forested areas, wherever they are hiding in the countryside.” So far, the army estimates 500 militants have been killed.
Brigadier Mohammad Shafiq praised the hard work, tenacity and determination of his soldiers. By cutting off vital roads, the army forced the militants into their defenses and steadily captured strongholds throughout the region.
Prime Mininster Yusuf Raza Gilani expressed hopes the offensive would be over ahead of schedule and civilians would be allowed to return home soon after.
With Waziristan under control, Pakistan will then be able to help Afghanistan cope with its extremists — a plan President Obama has often mentioned.
The Zardari administration’s results-oriented approach is bearing fruit. The fact that we are seeing the Taliban come out swinging in every direction is a sign they are desperate and aware they are losing.