Pakistan’s Crackdown on Terrorism Post-Peshawar Attack

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On 16 December 2014, six terrorists affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan executed a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. The terrorists, all of whom were foreign residents, including one Chechen, three Arabs and two Afghans penetrated the school and unlocked shooting at school staff and children, massacring 149 people including 132 schoolchildren wounded. It was the world’s fifth deadliest school massacre. In the aftermath, Pakistan launched the National Action Plan to crack down on terrorism. Pakistan’s Government and its Armed Forces conducted an immediate reaction to the incident.

After the attack, the integrated unmanned aerial vehicle and air strikes on TTP members were advanced, and the Pakistan Air Force strengthened efforts to locate Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Mullah Fazlullah, who narrowly dodged a UAV strike on 25 November.  On 17 December, the PAF’s F-16s and JF-17s jets committed bombings against TTP positions in the Tirah Valley, near the Afghan-Pakistani border targeting 57 TTP members. Twenty additional aerial bombing tasks were carried out using dynamic targeting. On 16 December, a US strike eradicated four TTP members in eastern Afghanistan.

On 20 December, another UAV attack targeted and killed five supposed TTP members in North Waziristan, and according to administrators, the death toll was predicted to rise. During the same time, around 21 TTP associates were reportedly eradicated by PAF strikes in Khyber Agency as they endeavoured to escape to Afghanistan. On 20 December 2014, a media report expressed that Fazlullah was killed by PAF air strikes in Afghanistan. 

Mastermind of the episode, Umar Mansoor, was reported to have been injured in a drone strike in Paktia Province of Afghanistan on 17 October 2017. He was moved to an undisclosed location and reportedly surrendered to his injuries. TTP verified his death in a statement sent to journalists through e-mail and counted that Khalifa Usman Mansoor would substitute him as the new leader for the areas of Darra Adam Khel and Peshawar.

Reports were spreading widely in televised news media regarding law enforcement agencies hunting down the militants and targeting TTP detectives in a series of police encounters taking place all over the country. After the school attack, Pakistani intelligence agencies tracked down and captured four TTP terrorists in Quetta, before they could make their getaway to Afghanistan. In a police action with Karachi Metro Police and the Crime Investigation Department, the TTP commander, Abid Muchar, was tracked and killed along with his three associates in Musharraf Colony. 

In a different action in Karachi, the CID units, in a high-speed pursuit in Hawke’s Bay Beach, pursued and captured five members of Al-Qaeda’s South Asian chapter who were supposed of planning an aggression on Karachi Naval Dockyard in September. On 20 December, a group of Pakistan Rangers personnel plundered a safe house in the Manghopir area of Karachi and shot dead five members of the TTP in a shootout.

Moreover, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police and the special agents of the Federal Investigation Agency also plundered a safe house in Shabqadar, a town in Peshawar. In an exchange of fire at the safe house, the KPK police and other law enforcement agencies killed the six TTP fighters, including their leader and two other high-value targets who aided in the school attack. Operating on Pakistani Military Intelligence information, Special Service Group Navy units were inserted into the secret hideaway in Khyber Agency and hunted the six terrorists including the mastermind of the Army Public School attack. 

On 9 January 2015, the CID teams killed four Al-Qaeda militants after another high-speed car chase took place in Karachi. In another separate midnight activity in Lahore, teams of FIA agents, helped by the Punjab Police, plundered a house located on Burki Road. After an almost two-hour gunfight, the FIA agents killed Roohullah – the mastermind of the Wagah border attack – along with three of his parnters. Since the episode on the school, the FIA had been on the search for Roohullah, and he was eventually killed in a police encounter in Lahore

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