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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08PESHAWAR531
2008-12-15 12:55:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Peshawar
Cable title:  

FATA: BAJAUR/MOHMAND -- POST-EID PLANS, BUT ARE THERE ENOUGH

Tags:   PTER  MOPS  SNAR  PGOV  PK 
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O 151255Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL PESHAWAR
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7766
INFO AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 
AMCONSUL LAHORE IMMEDIATE 
AMCONSUL KARACHI IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 
USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE 
CIA WASHDC
NSC WASHINGTON DC
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
AMCONSUL PESHAWAR
						C O N F I D E N T I A L PESHAWAR 000531 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/15/2018
TAGS: PTER MOPS SNAR PGOV PK
SUBJECT: FATA: BAJAUR/MOHMAND -- POST-EID PLANS, BUT ARE THERE ENOUGH
FORCES?

CLASSIFIED BY: Lynne M. Tracy, Principal Officer, U.S. Consulate
Peshawar, Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (d)


Summary
-------



1. (C) After a pause over the Eid holidays, Frontier Corps is
gearing up for continuing operations in Bajaur and Mohmand.
Gains in Bajaur have been hard won but remain fragile. Bajaur
militants, although damaged, retain the ability to hit security
forces and government supporters. Peshawar contacts express
concern that many militants have merely hidden in the mountains
waiting for the security presence in Bajaur to ease as attention
turns south to Mohmand and beyond. Sufficient Pakistani force
levels to "clear and hold" remains the core challenge for
stabilization of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
and the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). Based on the
security trends of the past two years, our assessment is that
there are not enough appropriate forces to hold Bajaur, expand
into Mohmand, and handle the FATA and NWFP's other trouble spots
such as Swat (septel). End Summary.

Bajaur -- Hard Won Gains


--------------------------





2. (C) Since operations began in August in Bajaur, Pakistani
forces have achieved hard won gains with the help of lashkars
(local tribal militias). In early December, Frontier Corps
began consolidating its position at Nawagai, approximately 10 km
west of the Nawa Pass on the Afghan border. Nawagai also
controls the road south into Mohmand where Pakistani military
have been conducting air strikes over the past month. Frontier
Corps Commandant General Tariq Khan told PO that the people in
Mohmand were "waiting" for the arrival of government forces.
(Note: There are some permanently based Frontier Corps in
Mohmand but primarily at the agency's capital Ghallanai.)

Post-Eid Operations


--------------------------





3. (C) According to Peshawar-based U.S. military sources,
Frontier Corps is delaying until late December a push west to
squeeze the militants along the Bajaur/Kunar border. Operations
to clear the lines of communication southward from Nawagai into
Mohmand are taking priority and are slated to begin o/a December


17. In recent weeks, there have been reports that Mohmand's
Haleemzai tribe is openly supporting the government and calling
on other tribes in the agency "to root out" militants. The
Haleemzai have reportedly handed over to the government 70
"wanted" individuals.

Limited to Lines of Communication


--------------------------





4. (C) Much of the military progress in Bajaur thus far has been
limited to re-taking the "lines of communication" -- roads and
key towns such as Loyesam and Nawagai. FATA Secretariat
Additional Chief Secretary Habibullah Khan emphasized to PO that

mobility is the militants' strength in the FATA's difficult
terrain. Other Peshawar contacts worry that Bajaur's militants
will hold out in the mountains as they did in Swat, waiting for
the security presence to ease up.



5. (C) General Tariq told PO that security forces must have air
mobility to match the militants' capabilities. Without that
tool, security forces will remain limited to the lines of
communication, he said. The Frontier Corps Commander remarked
that his troops also need to dominate space through aggressive
patrolling. At present, the militants know the terrain better
than the security forces, he added.

Bajaur Militants Still Able To Strike


--------------------------





6. (C) Although limited in scope and damage, Bajaur's militants
have demonstrated a continuing ability to strike back. On
December 13, according to local press reports, insurgents fired
rockets on the home of Salarzai tribal lashkar leader Malik
Kamal Khan. No casualties were reported. Rockets landed on
Bajaur's capital Khar, causing some property damage, but no
injuries. On December 12 in Nawagai, insurgents opened fire on
a Frontier Corps post and later attacked the house of
pro-government tribal leader Maulana Guldad Khan, killing Khan's
brother. Khar was hit with rockets on December 12, but no
casualties or damage was reported. On November 20, a suicide
bomber attacked a mosque in Mahmond tehsil, killing nine,
including a lashkar leader.

Comment


--------------------------





7. (C) Frontier Corps has 58 wings (each wing is approximately
600 soldiers) -- many of which are under strength, amounting to
an overall deficiency of at least 7,000 soldiers. On top of
rebuilding these under strength wings, General Tariq is asking
for an additional four wings. While on paper these numbers may
seem high, the difficulty of the terrain and the multiplicity of
troubled areas have spread Frontier Corps thin. The Pakistani
army, although present in large numbers, is primarily a Punjabi
force that operates from large bases and because of language and
cultural differences is limited in its ability to interact with
the Pashtun tribal populations. These shortfalls have meant
that FC forces have been unable to cycle out for rest and
training. With the Waziristans a continuing concern and other
hot spots including the Peshawar area, Khyber, Swat, Kohat, and
Orakzai, pressing for infusions of security forces, Pakistan's
core challenge for stabilization of the FATA and the NWFP
remains the buildup of sufficient force levels, across the
Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary, and Police to "clear and
hold.


TRACY