The reasons behind Pakistan large-scale military campaign against al Qaeda
The Pakistani armed forces have launched a large-scale offensive against al Qaeda in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan Thursday, killing at least 12 suspects and arresting 10, official military said.
Pakistani political analyst Hamid Mira told Al Bawaba via telephone that the operation is still ongoing in the tribal areas, and according to the information available to him, three people have already been arrested. Following are excerpts from the interview with Mr. Mira:
Q. Why is the campaign being launched at this particular time?
A. Yesterday the Taliban captured more than five districts in Afghanistan, a fact that has disturbed the Americans and has prompted them to launch a military operation inside Afghanistan near the borders with Pakistan. They told Pakistan that many al Qaeda members have crossed over to Pakistan (following the US military operations) and that’s why the Pakistani armed forces started their military operation in the tribal area this morning.
Q. Could you link between today’s military operation and Zawahiri’s recorded message released some days ago calling for the toppling of the Pakistani regime?
A. Yes, there may be a link. The recording was condemned by the Pakistani foreign office spokesman and the Pakistani government…they said that Zawahiri is trying to create problems for them. The operation may be linked to this recording as well.
Q. What has spurred al Qaeda’s members to mobilize to the borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan?
A. We do not have any information about al Qaeda and whether they are present in that area or not, but one thing is confirmed and that is the fact that there are now more than five districts inside Afghanistan which were captured yesterday by the Taliban. The Americans became very disturbed by this and so they launched a large [military] operation against them, and have also requested that the Pakistani forces help them. So the basic purpose of the operations going on inside Afghanistan and Pakistan is to drive Taliban out of those five districts which are now under their control.
Q. Any information about the number of al Qaeda members killed and from which nationalities?
A. According to the information available to me, three people have been arrested from the tribal area.
Q. Are there any al Qaeda leaders among the captured?
A. No al Qaeda leaders have been captured.