PAKISTAN

US army trucks on their way to Waziristan?

The US says it currently has no ground offensives underway in Pakistan's tribal region of Waziristan, a Taliban militant stronghold close to the Afghan border. However, one of our Observers in Pakistan disputes this after spotting two of what he believes to be US Army vehicles heading into the region. Read more...

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The US says it currently has no ground offensives underway in Pakistan's tribal region of Waziristan, a Taliban militant stronghold close to the Afghan border. However, one of our Observers in Pakistan disputes this after spotting two of what he believes to be US Army vehicles heading into the region.

The Pakistani army launched a major offensive in the north-western tribal area of South Waziristan in mid October. As a Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), the region is off limits to non-Pakistani forces, including the US. Thought to be a "terrorist haven" for ousted Afghan militants , the Pakistani army initially deliberated over sending 30,000 of its troops to the mountainous region. Two months into the operation, however, they claim to have killed more than 600 militants.

It was reported on Wednesday that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari resisted a direct appeal from US President Barack Obama to step up their ground offensive in the region. 

Photos taken by Awab Alvi near to the village of Winder, on the RCD Highway, north of Karachi.

“Within just a couple of hours, we saw two of these things making their way west”

Awab Alvi is a dentist from Karachi. He took the photos of the vehicles on a trip to Hingol, south Pakistan. 

The vehicles had no markings except for ‘flammable'; but nothing indicating they were US Army vehicles. The only way to know that they were not Pakistani was because, as one of my co-travellers explained to me, we only have four-wheeled APCs (armed personnel carriers), not eight or 16, like US and NATO forces.

The reason I believe they were on their way Waziristan is because we were northbound on the RCD (Karachi - Quetta) highway, which only leads in two places - Quetta (and on to Waziristan), and a harbour town, where there is no military action. Within just a couple of hours, we saw two of these things making their way west. So if it is indeed US vehicles, then can you imagine how many are on their way, or already there?

They're probably building up for a major offensive. I'm quite sure the Americans are already involved in helping the ground offensive anyway. We all know that they're deploying drones there, but they refuse to admit it. The question is, who is running the war? And that is also the problem. Zardari doesn't want to admit that the US are in charge - for one thing it's embarrassing, and two, the public do not trust the US Army. If they know the US is in charge, the government will lose public support.

Personally, I think peaceful negotiations would be more efficient, if lengthy. However, the US has its own agenda; they'll never leave us to sort out this problem in our own time."