One of the main reasons large swaths of Pakistan has fallen under Taliban control is that the military has nearly no capacity to fight a counterinsurgency operation. The Pakistani Army is built to battle the Indians on the eastern plains, not the Taliban in the mountainous northwest. The Pakistani Army's idea of fighting a counterinsurgency is to move the artillery up or call in air or helicopter strikes, and level entire villages. This of course makes the Army hated: why would a country's own Army indiscriminately kill their own people and destroy their property? Just as the U.S. and Britain have been given the green light to send additional special forces trainers to help teach the Pakistani Army counterinsurgency techniques, General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, Chief of Army Staff, tells us not to bother. Everything is fine, says Kiyani, all we need are your shiny new weapons:
Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani on Saturday said that Pakistan Army has developed a full range of counter insurgency training facilities tailored to train troops for such operations. "Therefore, except for very specialized weapons and equipment, high technology, no generalized foreign training is required," the COAS said in a press statement issued here. Owing to its vast experience, Pakistan Army remains the best suited force to operate in its own area, the COAS said. So, the comments from various quarters coming on the level of Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) training of Pakistani troops and about their shifting from eastern borders is unsuited. Uncalled for aspersions through various quarters on our training methods/orientation are apparently due to lack of knowledge and understanding of our training system in vogue, he said.
Perhaps someone should tell the more than 1.1 million internally displaced persons who are leaving the northwest due to the heavy handed tactics of the Pakistani military that they were wrong to leave as the soldiers are well trained in taking the needs of civilians into consideration. Many Pakistan watchers are hard on the Pakistani Army and the government--with good reason. Statements like Kiyani's demonstrate a lack of seriousness in addressing the spread of the Taliban, and make the government appear to be panhandling for international aid and advanced weapons.
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