The operation Pakistan launched against the militants in North Waziristan last year has “absolutely” eliminated extremist safe havens in Miramshah and Mirali, says a US official.
“Suicide attacks and resultant fatalities declined, with 336 killed in 25 such incidents in 2014, as against 43 suicide attacks resulting in 751 fatalities in 2013,” it observed.
But a senior US official, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall, warned that military operation alone would not end terrorism.
In a statement issued by the State Department, she urged the international community also to address the “grievances and motives that propel individuals, and in some cases, communities to join or align with terrorist actors.”
Another US official, who spoke to The Washington Post, said that terrorist safe havens in North Waziristan were “real fundamental concerns for us, the Afghans, and also Pakistanis in recent years.”
The official, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely about the matter, however, noted that some of these militants had dispersed around Pakistan.
They were continuing to plan attacks against not only Pakistanis, but also against Afghans, Americans and others inside Afghanistan from their new hideouts, he said.
“And it is going to take a sustained effort to make sure these groups don’t reconstitute in the cleared areas,” the official said.
Meanwhile, South Asia Terrorism Portal, a New Delhi-based website, noted that during the first five months of this year, 500 civilians died in terrorist attacks in Pakistan compared with 787 during the same period last year and 1,536 in 2013. The last time the start of a year was so peaceful was in 2007 — before the Pakistan Taliban emerged as a serious threat to domestic security.
The Washington Post noted that terrorism had killed more than 50,000 civilians and soldiers in Pakistan till last year.
But the Pakistani military “finally became fed up” last June when the Pakistan Taliban attacked Karachi’s international airport.