The Pakistani Taliban will not be able to protect anyone during war, key commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur has told the residents of North Waziristan, warning them to leave the area by June 10.
“The Government of Pakistan has tarnished the [peace] accord they signed with us, but we have restrained ourselves for the sake of the nation,” alleges the one-page pamphlet distributed in the tribal area, citing a decision taken in a meeting of the mujahideen’s central shura. “Now the atrocities of the government have crossed all limits, and it has been killing innocent children, elders and women instead of ‘real’ targets,” it adds.
The Urdu-language pamphlet goes on to claim that the government has decided to launch a full-scale military operation in the region. “The government has now decided to launch a [full scale] military operation and we cannot allow you to remain victims of this aggression. So, we urge you to leave the area for safer places by June 10.”
Pakistani jets targeted suspected hideouts of militants in various parts of North Waziristan last week, killing over 60 “hardcore” terrorists, according to ISPR. “The strikes were carried out on confirmed intelligence reports that linked the sites to attacks carried out by terrorists in FATA, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Karachi,” it added. The figures cannot be verified independently as journalists are not permitted in the region. However, since the launch of the airstrikes, civilians have rushed to Bannu hospitals to seek help for injured relatives.
The Taliban’s statement also warns fleeing refugees to avoid government camps. “They [camps] are lacking in faith, respect and dignity,” it says. Instead, it urges locals to move to areas close to the border with Afghanistan. It also threatens retaliation if residents continue to visit government and political administration offices after the deadline.
The pamphlet continues: “Our deadline is June 10. Until then, anyone who can contribute to the peace and solidarity of the nation should continue their attempts. Otherwise, this will remain our stance.”
It also urges able-bodied volunteers to join the Taliban. “Those of you that can fight for the respect and honor of Waziristan should extend their cooperation according to their capabilities,” it adds. “After the deadline,” it states, “all mujahideen of North Waziristan are advised to stop efforts in Afghanistan and focus on one target: the defense of Waziristan.”