War on Terror

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War on Terror
Clockwise from top left: Aftermath of the September 11 attacks; American infantry in Afghanistan; an American soldier and Afghan interpreter in Zabul Province, Afghanistan; explosion of an Iraqi car bomb in Baghdad
Clockwise from top left: Aftermath of the September 11 attacks; American infantry in Afghanistan; an American soldier and Afghan interpreter in Zabul Province, Afghanistan; explosion of an Iraqi car bomb in Baghdad.
Date 11 September 2001 – present
(15 years, 8 months and 1 day)[note 1]
Location Global (esp. in the Greater Middle East)
Status NATO-led international involvement in Afghanistan (2001–2014)

Insurgency in Yemen (1992–2015):[note 2]

Iraq War (2003–2011):

War in North-West Pakistan (2004–present):

  • Ongoing insurgency
  • Large part of FATA under Taliban control
  • Shifting public support for the Pakistani government
  • Killing of Osama bin Laden
  • Drone strikes being conducted by the CIA

International campaign against ISIL (2014–present):

Other:

Belligerents
Main participants:
 United States (leader)
 United Kingdom
 France
 Russia
 China[1][2]

Other countries:


(* note: most contributing nations are included in the international operations)

Main targets:

Flag of Taliban.svg Taliban
East Turkestan Islamic Movement


Commanders and leaders
George W. Bush
(President 2001–2009)
Barack Obama
(President 2009–2017)
Donald Trump
(President 2017–present)

Tony Blair
(Prime Minister 1997–2007)
Gordon Brown
(Prime Minister 2007–2010)
David Cameron
(Prime Minister 2010–2016)
Theresa May
(Prime Minister 2016–present)

Jacques Chirac (President 1995–2007)
Nicolas Sarkozy (President 2007–2012)
François Hollande(President 2012–present)
Vladimir Putin
(President 2000–2008, 2012–present)

Dmitry Medvedev
(President 2008–2012)
Jiang Zemin
(President 2001–2003)
Hu Jintao
(President 2003–2013)
Xi Jinping
(President 2013–present)

al-Qaeda

Osama bin Laden 
(Founder and first Emir of al-Qaeda)
Ayman al-Zawahiri
(Current Emir of al-Qaeda)
Saif al-Adel
(al-Qaeda Military Chief)
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi 
(Emir of al-Qaeda in Iraq)
Ilyas Kashmiri 
(Commander of Lashkar al-Zil)
Qasim al-Raymi
(Emir of AQAP)
Abdelmalek Droukdel
(Emir of AQIM)
Mokhtar Belmokhtar 
(Emir of AQWA)
Asim Umar
(Emir of AQIS)
Ahmad Umar
(Emir of al-Shabaab)
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
(Emir of al-Nusra Front)
Muhsin al-Fadhli 
(Leader of Khorasan Group)[37]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
(Caliph of ISIL)
Abu Ala al-Afri 
(Deputy Emir of ISIL)[38][39][40]
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani 
(Deputy Leader, Iraq)[41]
Abu Suleiman al-Naser 
(Head of War Council)[42]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Mohammad al-Adnani 
(Spokesperson for ISIL)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Omar al-Shishani 
(Senior ISIL commander)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Nabil al-Anbari (ISIL Emir of North Africa)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Abdullah al-Filipini (ISIL Emir of the Philippines)
Mohammed Abdullah
(ISIL Emir of Derna)
Ali Al Qarqaa
(ISIL Emir of Nofaliya)
Hafiz Saeed Khan  [43](ISIL Emir of Wilayat Khorasan)
Usman Ghazi[44][45]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abubakar Shekau[46]
(Emir of Boko Haram)

Taliban

Mohammed Omar
(1st Supreme Commander of the Taliban) 
Akhtar Mansour
(2nd Supreme Commander of the Taliban) 
Hibatullah Akhundzada
(Current & 3rd Supreme Commander of the Taliban)
Quetta Shura
(Senior Taliban council)

Abdul Ghani Baradar
Obaidullah Akhund 
Mohammad Fazl
Dadullah Akhund 

Tehrik-i-Taliban

Maulana Fazlullah
(Emir of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)

Haqqani Network

Jalaluddin Haqqani 
(leader of the Haqqani network)
Sirajuddin Haqqani

East Turkestan Islamic Movement

Abdul Haq
(Emir of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement)

Abdullah Mansour
(Emir of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement)

The War on Terror (WoT), also known as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), is a metaphor of war referring to the international military campaign that started after the September 11th attacks on the United States.[47] U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush first used the termWar on Terror” on 20 September 2001.[47] The Bush administration and the Western media have since used the term to argue a global military, political, legal, and conceptual struggle against both terrorist organizations and against the regimes accused of supporting them. It was originally used with a particular focus on countries associated with Islamic terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda and like-minded organizations.

In 2013, President Barack Obama announced that the United States was no longer pursuing a War on Terror, as the military focus should be on specific enemies rather than a tactic. He stated, “We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘Global War on Terror,’ but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.”[48]

In 2017 Donald Trump assumed presidency of the United States and vowed that the fight against ISIL is his number one priority.[49][50] A series of airstrikes were carried out at an ISIL stronghold in Syria in March 2017 and the Trump Administration announced the sending of more troops to ISIL-held territories in the Middle East to continue the fight against the terrorist organization.[51][52][53] Trump has also agreed to work together and carry joint operations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the ongoing war on terror.[54]

Etymology[edit source]

Letter from Barack Obama indicating appropriation of Congressional funds for “Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism”

The phrase “War on Terror” has been used to specifically refer to the ongoing military campaign led by the U.S., UK and their allies against organizations and regimes identified by them as terrorist, and usually excludes other independent counter-terrorist operations and campaigns such as those by Russia and India. The conflict has also been referred to by names other than the War on Terror. It has also been known as:

History of the name[edit source]

In 1984, the Reagan Administration used the term “war against terrorism” as part of an effort to pass legislation that was designed to freeze assets of terrorist groups and marshal the forces of government against them. Author Shane Harris asserts this was a reaction to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, which killed 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers.[62]

The concept of America at war with terrorism may have begun on 11 September 2001 when Tom Brokaw, having just witnessed the collapse of one of the towers of the World Trade Center, declared “Terrorists have declared war on [America].”[63]

On 16 September 2001, at Camp David, President George W. Bush used the phrase war on terrorism in an unscripted and controversial comment when he said, “This crusade – this war on terrorism – is going to take a while, … “[64] Bush later apologized for this remark due to the negative connotations the term crusade has to people, e.g. of the Muslim faith. The word crusade was not used again.[65] On 20 September 2001, during a televised address to a joint session of Congress, Bush stated that “(o)ur ‘war on terror’ begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”[66]

In April 2007, the British government announced publicly that it was abandoning the use of the phrase “War on Terror” as they found it to be less than helpful.[67] This was explained more recently by Lady Eliza Manningham-Buller. In her 2011 Reith lecture, the former head of MI5 said that the 9/11 attacks were “a crime, not an act of war. So I never felt it helpful to refer to a war on terror.”[68]

U.S. President Barack Obama has rarely used the term, but in his inaugural address on 20 January 2009, he stated: “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.”[69] In March 2009 the Defense Department officially changed the name of operations from “Global War on Terror” to “Overseas Contingency Operation” (OCO).[70] In March 2009, the Obama administration requested that Pentagon staff members avoid the use of the term and instead to use “Overseas Contingency Operation”.[70] Basic objectives of the Bush administration “war on terror”, such as targeting al Qaeda and building international counterterrorism alliances, remain in place.[71][72] In December 2012, Jeh Johnson, the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, stated that the military fight would be replaced by a law enforcement operation when speaking at Oxford University,[73] predicting that al Qaeda will be so weakened to be ineffective, and has been “effectively destroyed”, and thus the conflict will not be an armed conflict under international law.[74] In May 2013, Obama stated that the goal is “to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America”;[75] which coincided with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget having changed the wording from “Overseas Contingency Operations” to “Countering Violent Extremism” in 2010.[76]

The rhetorical war on terror[edit source]

Because the actions involved in the “war on terrorism” are diffuse, and the criteria for inclusion are unclear. Political theorist Richard Jackson has argued that “the ‘war on terrorism’ therefore, is simultaneously a set of actual practices—wars, covert operations, agencies, and institutions—and an accompanying series of assumptions, beliefs, justifications, and narratives—it is an entire language or discourse.”[77] Jackson cites among many examples a statement by John Ashcroft that “the attacks of September 11 drew a bright line of demarcation between the civil and the savage”.[78]Administration officials also described “terrorists” as hateful, treacherous, barbarous, mad, twisted, perverted, without faith, parasitical, inhuman, and, most commonly, evil.[79] Americans, in contrast, were described as brave, loving, generous, strong, resourceful, heroic, and respectful of human rights.[80]

Both the term and the policies it denotes have been a source of ongoing controversy, as critics argue it has been used to justify unilateral preventive war, human rights abuses and other violations of international law.[81][82]

Background[edit source]

Precursor to the 11 September attacks[edit source]

The origins of al-Qaeda can be traced to the Soviet war in Afghanistan (December 1979 – February 1989). The United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the People’s Republic of China supported the Islamist Afghan mujahadeen guerillas against the military forces of the Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. A small number of “Afghan Arab” volunteers joined the fight against the Soviets, including Osama bin Laden, but there is no evidence they received any external assistance.[83] In May 1996 the group World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders (WIFJAJC), sponsored by bin Laden (and later re-formed as al-Qaeda), started forming a large base of operations in Afghanistan, where the Islamist extremist regime of the Taliban had seized power earlier in the year.[84] In February 1998, Osama bin Laden signed a fatwā, as head of al-Qaeda, declaring war on the West and Israel,[85][86] later in May of that same year al-Qaeda released a video declaring war on the U.S. and the West.[87][88]

On 7 August 1998, al-Qaeda struck the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people, including 12 Americans.[89] In retaliation, U.S. President Bill Clinton launched Operation Infinite Reach, a bombing campaign in Sudan and Afghanistan against targets the U.S. asserted were associated with WIFJAJC,[90][91] although others have questioned whether a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was used as a chemical warfare facility. The plant produced much of the region’s antimalarial drugs[92] and around 50% of Sudan’s pharmaceutical needs.[93] The strikes failed to kill any leaders of WIFJAJC or the Taliban.[92]

Next came the 2000 millennium attack plots, which included an attempted bombing of Los Angeles International Airport. On 12 October 2000, the USS Cole bombing occurred near the port of Yemen, and 17 U.S. Navy sailors were killed.[94]

September 11, 2001, attacks[edit source]

On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners all bound for California. Once the hijackers assumed control of the airliners, they told the passengers that they had a bomb on board and would spare the lives of passengers and crew once their demands were met – no passenger and crew actually suspected that they would use the airliners as suicide weapons since it had never happened before in history, and many previous hijacking attempts had been resolved with the passengers and crew escaping unharmed after obeying the hijackers.[95][96] The hijackers – members of al-Qaeda’s Hamburg cell[97] intentionally crashed two airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Both buildings collapsed within two hours from fire damage related to the crashes, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside Washington D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington D.C., to target the White House or the U.S. Capitol. None of the flights had any survivors. A total of 2,977 victims and the 19 hijackers perished in the attacks.[98]

U.S. objectives[edit source]

  NATO
  Major military operations (AfghanistanPakistanIraqSomaliaYemen)
  Other allies involved in major operations

Circle Burgundy Solid.svg Major terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda and affiliated groups: 1.1998 United States embassy bombings • 2. 11 September attacks 2001 • 3. Bali bombings 2002• 4. Madrid bombings 2004 • 5. London bombings 2005 • 6. Mumbai attacks 2008

The Authorization for the use of Military Force Against Terrorists or “AUMF” was made law on 14 September 2001, to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on 11 September 2001. It authorized the President to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on 11 September 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or individuals. Congress declares this is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

The George W. Bush administration defined the following objectives in the War on Terror:[99]

  1. Defeat terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and demolish their organizations
  2. Identify, locate and demolish terrorists along with their organizations
  3. Deny sponsorship, support and sanctuary to terrorists
    1. End the state sponsorship of terrorism
    2. Establish and maintain an international standard of accountability concerning combating terrorism
    3. Strengthen and sustain the international effort to combat terrorism
    4. Work with willing and able states
    5. Enable weak states
    6. Persuade reluctant states
    7. Compel unwilling states
    8. Interdict and disorder Material support for terrorists
    9. Abolish terrorist sanctuaries and havens
  4. Diminish the underlying conditions that terrorists seek to exploit
    1. Partner with the international community to strengthen weak states and prevent (re)emergence of terrorism
    2. Win the war of ideals
  5. Defend U.S. citizens and interests at home and abroad
    1. Integrate the National Strategy for Homeland Security
    2. Attain domain awareness
    3. Enhance measures to ensure the integrity, reliability, and availability of critical, physical, and information-based infrastructures at home and abroad
    4. Implement measures to protect U.S. citizens abroad
    5. Ensure an integrated incident management capability

Afghanistan[edit source]

U.S. Army soldier of the 10th Mountain Division in Nuristan Province, June 2007

Operation Enduring Freedom[edit source]

Campaign streamer awarded to units who have participated in Operation Enduring Freedom

Operation Enduring Freedom is the official name used by the Bush administration for the War in Afghanistan, together with three smaller military actions, under the umbrella of the Global War on Terror. These global operations are intended to seek out and destroy any al-Qaeda fighters or affiliates.

Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan[edit source]

On 20 September 2001, in the wake of the 11 September attacks, George W. Bush delivered an ultimatum to the Taliban government of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, to turn over Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leaders operating in the country or face attack.[66] The Taliban demanded evidence of bin Laden’s link to the 11 September attacks and, if such evidence warranted a trial, they offered to handle such a trial in an Islamic Court.[100] The U.S. refused to provide any evidence.

Subsequently, in October 2001, U.S. forces (with UK and coalition allies) invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime. On 7 October 2001, the official invasion began with British and U.S. forces conducting airstrike campaigns over enemy targets. Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, fell by mid-November. The remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants fell back to the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan, mainly Tora Bora. In December, Coalition forces (the U.S. and its allies) fought within that region. It is believed that Osama bin Laden escaped into Pakistan during the battle.[101][102]

In March 2002, the U.S. and other NATO and non-NATO forces launched Operation Anaconda with the goal of destroying any remaining al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the Shah-i-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains of Afghanistan. The Taliban suffered heavy casualties and evacuated the region.[103]

The Taliban regrouped in western Pakistan and began to unleash an insurgent-style offensive against Coalition forces in late 2002.[104] Throughout southern and eastern Afghanistan, firefights broke out between the surging Taliban and Coalition forces. Coalition forces responded with a series of military offensives and an increase of troops in Afghanistan. In February 2010, Coalition forces launched Operation Moshtarak in southern Afghanistan along with other military offensives in the hopes that they would destroy the Taliban insurgency once and for all.[105] Peace talks are also underway between Taliban affiliated fighters and Coalition forces.[106] In September 2014, Afghanistan and the United States signed a security agreement, which permits the United States and NATO forces to remain in Afghanistan until at least 2024.[107] The United States and other NATO and non-NATO forces are planning to withdraw;[108] with the Taliban claiming it has defeated the United States and NATO,[109] and the Obama Administration viewing it as a victory.[110] In December 2014, ISAF encasing its colors, and Resolute Support began as the NATO operation in Afghanistan.[111]Continued United States operations within Afghanistan will continue under the name “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel”.[112]

International Security Assistance Force[edit source]

Map of countries contributing troops to ISAF as of 5 March 2010. Major contributors (over 1000 troops) in dark green, other contributors in light green, and former contributors in magenta.

December 2001 saw the creation of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to assist the Afghan Transitional Administration and the first post-Taliban elected government. With a renewed Taliban insurgency, it was announced in 2006 that ISAF would replace the U.S. troops in the province as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The British 16th Air Assault Brigade (later reinforced by Royal Marines) formed the core of the force in southern Afghanistan, along with troops and helicopters from Australia, Canada and the Netherlands. The initial force consisted of roughly 3,300 British, 2,000 Canadian, 1,400 from the Netherlands and 240 from Australia, along with special forces from Denmark and Estonia and small contingents from other nations. The monthly supply of cargo containers through Pakistani route to ISAF in Afghanistan is over 4,000 costing around 12 billion in Pakistani Rupees.[113][114][115][116][117]

Iraq and Syria[edit source]

A British C-130J Hercules aircraft launches flare countermeasures before being the first coalition aircraft to land on the newly reopened military runway at Baghdad International Airport

Iraq had been listed as a State sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. since 1990,[118] when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Iraq had also been on the list from 1979 to 1982; it was removed so that the U.S. could provide material support to Iraq in its war with Iran. Hussein’s regime had proven to be a problem for the UN and Iraq’s neighbors due to its use of chemical weapons against Iranians and Kurds in the 1980s.

Iraqi no-fly zones[edit source]

Following the ceasefire agreement that suspended hostilities (but not officially ended) in the 1991 Gulf War, the United States and its allies instituted and began patrolling Iraqi no-fly zones, to protect Iraq’s Kurdish and Shi’a Arab population—both of which suffered attacks from the Hussein regime before and after the Gulf War—in Iraq’s northern and southern regions, respectively. U.S. forces continued in combat zone deployments through November 1995 and launched Operation Desert Fox against Iraq in 1998 after it failed to meet U.S. demands for “unconditional cooperation” in weapons inspections.[119]

In the aftermath of Operation Desert Fox, during December 1998, Iraq announced that it would no longer respect the no-fly zones and resumed its attempts to shoot down U.S. aircraft.

Operation Iraqi Freedom[edit source]

The Iraq War began in March 2003 with an air campaign, which was immediately followed by a U.S.-led ground invasion. The Bush administration stated the invasion was the “serious consequences” spoken of in the UNSC Resolution 1441, partially by Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration also stated the Iraq war was part of the War on Terror; something later questioned or contested.

The first ground attack came at the Battle of Umm Qasr on 21 March 2003 when a combined force of British, American and Polish forces seized control of the port city of Umm Qasr.[120] Baghdad, Iraq’s capital city, fell to American troops in April 2003 and Saddam Hussein’s government quickly dissolved.[121] On 1 May 2003, Bush announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.[122] However, an insurgency arose against the U.S.-led coalition and the newly developing Iraqi military and post-Saddam government. The rebellion, which included al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, led to far more coalition casualties than the invasion. Other elements of the insurgency were led by fugitive members of President Hussein’s Ba’ath regime, which included Iraqi nationalists and pan-Arabists. Many insurgency leaders are Islamists and claim to be fighting a religious war to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate of centuries past.[123] Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces in December 2003. He was executed in 2006.

In 2004, the insurgent forces grew stronger. The U.S. conducted attacks on insurgent strongholds in cities like Najaf and Fallujah.

In January 2007, President Bush presented a new strategy for Operation Iraqi Freedom based upon counter-insurgency theories and tactics developed by General David Petraeus. The Iraq War troop surge of 2007 was part of this “new way forward” and, along with U.S. backing of Sunni groups it had previously sought to defeat, has been credited with a widely recognized dramatic decrease in violence by up to 80%.

Operation New Dawn[edit source]

The war entered a new phase on 1 September 2010,[124] with the official end of U.S. combat operations. The last U.S. troops exited Iraq on 18 December 2011.[125]

Operation Inherent Resolve (Syria and Iraq)[edit source]

Tomahawk missiles being fired from USS Philippine Sea and USS Arleigh Burke at IS targets in Syria

In a major split in the ranks of Al Qaeda’s organization, the Iraqi franchise, known as Al Qaeda in Iraq covertly invaded Syria and the Levant and began participating in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, gaining enough support and strength to re-invade Iraq’s western provinces under the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL), taking over much of the country in a blitzkrieg-like action and combining the Iraq insurgency and Syrian Civil War into a single conflict.[126] Due to their extreme brutality and a complete change in their overall ideology, Al Qaeda’s core organization in Central Asia eventually denounced ISIS and directed their affiliates to cut off all ties with this organization.[127] Many analysts[who?] believe that because of this schism, Al Qaeda and ISIL are now in a competition to retain the title of the world’s most powerful terrorist organization.[128]

The Obama administration began to re-engage in Iraq with a series of airstrikes aimed at ISIS starting on 10 August 2014.[129] On 9 September 2014, President Obama said that he had the authority he needed to take action to destroy the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, citing the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, and thus did not require additional approval from Congress.[130] The following day on 10 September 2014 President Barack Obama made a televised speech about ISIL, which he stated: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy”.[131] Obama has authorized the deployment of additional U.S. Forces into Iraq, as well as authorizing direct military operations against ISIL within Syria.[131]On the night of 21/22 September the United States, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan and Qatar started air attacks against ISIS in Syria.[citation needed]

In October 2014, it was reported that the U.S. Department of Defense considers military operations against ISIL as being under Operation Enduring Freedom in regards to campaign medal awarding.[132] On 15 October, the military intervention became known as “Operation Inherent Resolve”.[133]

Pakistan[edit source]

Following the 11 September 2001 attacks, former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf sided with the U.S. against the Taliban government in Afghanistan after an ultimatum by then U.S. President George W. Bush. Musharraf agreed to give the U.S. the use of three airbases for Operation Enduring Freedom. United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and other U.S. administration officials met with Musharraf. On 19 September 2001, Musharraf addressed the people of Pakistan and stated that, while he opposed military tactics against the Taliban, Pakistan risked being endangered by an alliance of India and the U.S. if it did not cooperate. In 2006, Musharraf testified that this stance was pressured by threats from the U.S., and revealed in his memoirs that he had “war-gamed” the United States as an adversary and decided that it would end in a loss for Pakistan.[134]

On 12 January 2002, Musharraf gave a speech against Islamic extremism. He unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism and pledged to combat Islamic extremism and lawlessness within Pakistan itself. He stated that his government was committed to rooting out extremism and made it clear that the banned militant organizations would not be allowed to resurface under any new name. He said, “the recent decision to ban extremist groups promoting militancy was taken in the national interest after thorough consultations. It was not taken under any foreign influence”.[135]

In 2002, the Musharraf-led government took a firm stand against the jihadi organizations and groups promoting extremism, and arrested Maulana Masood Azhar, head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and took dozens of activists into custody. An official ban was imposed on the groups on 12 January.[136] Later that year, the Saudi born Zayn al-Abidn Muhammed Hasayn Abu Zubaydah was arrested by Pakistani officials during a series of joint U.S.-Pakistan raids. Zubaydah is said to have been a high-ranking al-Qaeda official with the title of operations chief and in charge of running al-Qaeda training camps.[137] Other prominent al-Qaeda members were arrested in the following two years, namely Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who is known to have been a financial backer of al-Qaeda operations, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who at the time of his capture was the third highest-ranking official in al-Qaeda and had been directly in charge of the planning for the 11 September attacks.

In 2004, the Pakistan Army launched a campaign in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan’s Waziristan region, sending in 80,000 troops. The goal of the conflict was to remove the al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the area.

After the fall of the Taliban regime, many members of the Taliban resistance fled to the Northern border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Pakistani army had previously little control. With the logistics and air support of the United States, the Pakistani Army captured or killed numerous al-Qaeda operatives such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, wanted for his involvement in the USS Cole bombing, the Bojinka plot, and the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

The United States has carried out a campaign of Drone attacks on targets all over the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. However, the Pakistani Taliban still operates there. To this day it is estimated that 15 U.S. soldiers were killed while fighting al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants in Pakistan since the War on Terror began.[138]

Osama bin Laden, who was of many founders of al-Qaeda, his wife, and son, were all killed on 2 May 2011, during a raid conducted by the United States special operations forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.[139]

The use of drones by the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan to carry out operations associated with the Global War on Terror sparks debate over sovereignty and the laws of war. The U.S. Government uses the CIA rather than the U.S. Air Force for strikes in Pakistan to avoid breaching sovereignty through military invasion. The United States was criticized by[according to whom?] a report on drone warfare and aerial sovereignty for abusing the term ‘Global War on Terror’ to carry out military operations through government agencies without formally declaring war.

In the three years before the attacks of 11 September, Pakistan received approximately US$9 million in American military aid. In the three years after, the number increased to US$4.2 billion, making it the country with the maximum funding post 9/11.

Baluchistan[edit source]

Brahamdagh Bugti stated in a 2008 interview that he would accept aid from India, Afghanistan, and Iran in defending Baluchistan.[140] Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of supporting Baloch rebels,[141][142] and Wright-Neville writes that outside Pakistan, some Western observers also believe that India secretly funds the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).[143]

The uprising in Baluchistan started after Pakistan invaded and occupied the territory in 1948. Various NGOs have reported human rights violations in committed by Pakistani armed forces. According to reports, approximately 18,000 Baluch residents are reportedly missing and about 2000 have been killed.[144]

Trans-Sahara (Northern Africa)[edit source]

Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara[edit source]

Northern Mali conflict.svg

Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS) is the name of the military operation conducted by the U.S. and partner nations in the Sahara/Sahel region of Africa, consisting of counter-terrorism efforts and policing of arms and drug trafficking across central Africa.

The conflict in northern Mali began in January 2012 with radical Islamists (affiliated to al-Qaeda) advancing into northern Mali. The Malian government had a hard time maintaining full control over their country. The fledgling government requested support from the international community on combating the Islamic militants. In January 2013, France intervened on behalf of the Malian government’s request and deployed troops into the region. They launched Operation Serval on 11 January 2013, with the hopes of dislodging the al-Qaeda affiliated groups from northern Mali.[145]

Horn of Africa and the Red Sea[edit source]

Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa[edit source]

This extension of Operation Enduring Freedom was titled OEF-HOA. Unlike other operations contained in Operation Enduring Freedom, OEF-HOA does not have a specific organization as a target. OEF-HOA instead focuses its efforts to disrupt and detect militant activities in the region and to work with willing governments to prevent the reemergence of militant cells and activities.[146]

In October 2002, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) was established in Djibouti at Camp Lemonnier.[147] It contains approximately 2,000 personnel including U.S. military and special operations forces (SOF) and coalition force members, Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150).

Task Force 150 consists of ships from a shifting group of nations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Pakistan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The primary goal of the coalition forces is to monitor, inspect, board and stop suspected shipments from entering the Horn of Africa region and affecting the United States’ Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Included in the operation is the training of selected armed forces units of the countries of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency tactics. Humanitarian efforts conducted by CJTF-HOA include rebuilding of schools and medical clinics and providing medical services to those countries whose forces are being trained.

The program expands as part of the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative as CJTF personnel also assist in training the armed forces of Chad, Niger, Mauritania and Mali. However, the War on Terror does not include Sudan, where over 400,000 have died in an ongoing civil war.

On 1 July 2006, a Web-posted message purportedly written by Osama bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western governments that the al-Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there.[148]

Somalia has been considered a “failed state” because its official central government was weak, dominated by warlords and unable to exert effective control over the country. Beginning in mid-2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist faction campaigning on a restoration of “law and order” through Sharia law, had rapidly taken control of much of southern Somalia.

On 14 December 2006, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer claimed al-Qaeda cell operatives were controlling the Islamic Courts Union, a claim denied by the ICU.[149]

By late 2006, the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia had seen its power effectively limited to Baidoa, while the Islamic Courts Union controlled the majority of southern Somalia, including the capital of Mogadishu. On 20 December 2006, the Islamic Courts Union launched an offensive on the government stronghold of Baidoa and saw early gains before Ethiopia intervened for the government.

By 26 December, the Islamic Courts Union retreated towards Mogadishu, before again retreating as TFG/Ethiopian troops neared, leaving them to take Mogadishu with no resistance. The ICU then fled to Kismayo, where they fought Ethiopian/TFG forces in the Battle of Jilib.

The Prime Minister of Somalia claimed that three “terror suspects” from the 1998 United States embassy bombings are being sheltered in Kismayo.[150] On 30 December 2006, al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Muslims worldwide to fight against Ethiopia and the TFG in Somalia.[151]

On 8 January 2007, the U.S. launched the Battle of Ras Kamboni by bombing Ras Kamboni using AC-130 gunships.[152]

On 14 September 2009, U.S. Special Forces killed two men and wounded and captured two others near the Somali village of Baarawe. Witnesses claim that helicopters used for the operation launched from French-flagged warships, but that could not be confirmed. A Somali-based al-Qaida affiliated group, the Al-Shabaab, has verified the death of “sheik commander” Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan along with an unspecified number of militants.[153] Nabhan, a Kenyan, was wanted in connection with the 2002 Mombasa attacks.[154]

Philippines[edit source]

Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines[edit source]

U.S. Special Forces soldier and infantrymen of the Philippine Army

In January 2002, the United States Special Operations Command, Pacific deployed to the Philippines to advise and assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines in combating Filipino Islamist groups.[155] The operations were mainly focused on removing the Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) from their stronghold on the island of Basilan.[156] The second portion of the operation was conducted as a humanitarian program called “Operation Smiles”. The goal of the program was to provide medical care and services to the region of Basilan as part of a “Hearts and Minds” program.[157][158] Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines disbanded in June 2014,[159]ending a successful 12-year mission.[160] After JSOTF-P had disbanded, as late as November 2014, American forces continued to operate in the Philippines under the name “PACOM Augmentation Team”, until February 24, 2015.[161][162]

Yemen[edit source]

The United States has also conducted a series of military strikes on al-Qaeda militants in Yemen since the War on Terror began.[163] Yemen has a weak central government and a powerful tribal system that leaves large lawless areas open for militant training and operations. Al-Qaeda has a strong presence in the country.[164] On 31 March 2011, AQAP declared the Al-Qaeda Emirate in Yemen after its captured most of Abyan Governorate.[165]

The U.S., in an effort to support Yemeni counter-terrorism efforts, has increased their military aid package to Yemen from less than $11 million in 2006 to more than $70 million in 2009, as well as providing up to $121 million for development over the next three years.[166]

U.S. Allies in the Middle East[edit source]

Israel[edit source]

Israel has been fighting terrorist groups such Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, who are all Iran’s proxies aimed at Iran’s objective to destroy Israel. According to the Clarion Project: “Since 1979, Iran has been responsible for countless terrorist plots, directly through regime agents or indirectly through proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah.[167] In 2006, U.S. President [George W Bush] said that Israel’s war on terrorist group Hezbollah was part of war on terror.[168]

Saudi Arabia[edit source]

Saudi Arabia witnessed multiple terror attacks from different groups such as Al-Queda whos leader Osama Bin Laden delcared war on the Saudi government. On June 16, 1996, the Khobar Towers bombing took place in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. soldiers. It is widely thought that Iran orchestrated it. The 9/11 Commission concluded that Hezbollah, likely with the support of the Iranian regime, was the perpetrator. It said there are “signs” that Al-Qaeda also played a role.[167]

Libya[edit source]

On 19 March 2011, a multi-state coalition began a military action in Libya, ostensibly to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. The United Nations Intent and Voting was to have “an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute crimes against humanity” … “imposing a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace – a no-fly zone – and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters.” The resolution was taken in response to events during the Libyan Civil War,[169] and military operations began, with American and British naval forces firing over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles,[170] the French Air Force, British Royal Air Force, and Royal Canadian Air Force[171] undertaking sorties across Libya and a naval blockade by Coalition forces.[172] French jets launched air strikes against Libyan Army tanks and vehicles.[173][174] The Libyan government response to the campaign was totally ineffectual, with Gaddafi’s forces not managing to shoot down a single NATO plane despite the country possessing 30 heavy SAM batteries, 17 medium SAM batteries, 55 light SAM batteries (a total of 400-450 launchers, including 130-150 SA-6 launchers and some SA-8 launchers), and 440-600 short-range air-defense guns.[175][176] The official names for the interventions by the coalition members are Opération Harmattan by France; Operation Ellamy by the United Kingdom; Operation Mobile for the Canadian participation and Operation Odyssey Dawn for the United States.[177]

From the beginning of the intervention, the initial coalition of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Qatar, Spain, UK and US[178][179][180][181][182] expanded to nineteen states, with newer states mostly enforcing the no-fly zone and naval blockade or providing military logistical assistance. The effort was initially largely led by France and the United Kingdom, with command shared with the United States. NATO took control of the arms embargo on 23 March, named Operation Unified Protector. An attempt to unify the military leadership of the air campaign (while keeping political and strategic control with a small group), first failed over objections by the French, German, and Turkish governments.[183][184] On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone, while command of targeting ground units remains with coalition forces.[185][186][187] The handover occurred on 31 March 2011 at 06:00 UTC (08:00 local time). NATO flew 26,500 sorties since it took charge of the Libya mission on 31 March 2011.

Fighting in Libya ended in late October following the death of Muammar Gaddafi, and NATO stated it would end operations over Libya on 31 October 2011. Libya’s new government requested its mission to be extended to the end of the year,[188] but on 27 October, the Security Council voted to end NATO’s mandate for military action on 31 October.[189]

An AV-8B Harrier takes off from the flight deck of the USS Wasp during Operation Odyssey Lightning, August 8, 2016.

NBC News reported that in mid-2014, ISIS had about 1,000 fighters in Libya. Taking advantage of a power vacuum in the center of the country, far from the major cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, ISIS expanded rapidly over the next 18 months. Local militants were joined by jihadists from the rest of North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Caucasus. The force absorbed or defeated other Islamist groups inside Libya and the central ISIS leadership in Raqqa, Syria, began urging foreign recruits to head for Libya instead of Syria. ISIS seized control of the coastal city of Sirte in early 2015 and then began to expand to the east and south. By the beginning of 2016, it had effective control of 120 to 150 miles of coastline and portions of the interior and had reached Eastern Libya’s major population center, Benghazi. In spring 2016, AFRICOM estimated that ISIS had about 5,000 fighters in its stronghold of Sirte.[190]

However, the indigenous rebel groups who had staked their claims to Libya and turned their weapons on ISIS — with the help of airstrikes by Western forces, including U.S. drones, the Libyan population resented the outsiders who wanted to establish a fundamentalist regime on their soil. Militias loyal to the new Libyan unity government, plus a separate and rival force loyal to a former officer in the Qaddafi regime, launched an assault on ISIS outposts in Sirte and the surrounding areas that lasted for months. According to U.S. military estimates, ISIS ranks shrank to somewhere between a few hundred and 2,000 fighters. In August 2016, the U.S. military began airstrikes that, along with continued pressure on the ground from the Libyan militias, pushed the remaining ISIS fighters back into Sirte, In all, U.S. drones and planes hit ISIS nearly 590 times, the Libyan militias reclaimed the city in mid-December.[190] On January 18, 2017, ABC News reported that two USAF B-2 bombers struck two ISIS camps 28 miles south of Sirte, the airstrikes targeted between 80 and 100 ISIS fighters in multiple camps, an unmanned aircraft also participated in the airstrikes. NBC News reported that as many as 90 ISIS fighters were killed in the strike, a U.S. defense official said that “This was the largest remaining ISIS presence in Libya,” and that “They have been largely marginalized, but I am hesitant to say they have been eliminated in Libya.”[190]

Other military operations[edit source]

Operation Active Endeavour[edit source]

Operation Active Endeavour is a naval operation of NATO started in October 2001 in response to the 11 September attacks. It operates in the Mediterranean and is designed to prevent the movement of militants or weapons of mass destruction and to enhance the security of shipping in general.[191]

Fighting in Kashmir[edit source]

Political Map: the Kashmir region districts

In a ‘Letter to American People’ written by Osama bin Laden in 2002, he stated that one of the reasons he was fighting America is because of its support of India on the Kashmir issue.[192][193] While on a trip to Delhi in 2002, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggested that Al-Qaeda was active in Kashmir, though he did not have any hard evidence.[194][195] In 2002, The Christian Science Monitor published an article claiming that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates were “thriving” in Pakistan-administered Kashmir with the tacit approval of Pakistan’s National Intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence.[196] A team of Special Air Service and Delta Force was sent into Indian-administered Kashmir in 2002 to hunt for Osama bin Laden after reports that he was being sheltered by the Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.[197] U.S. officials believed that Al-Qaeda was helping organize a campaign of terror in Kashmir to provoke conflict between India and Pakistan. Fazlur Rehman Khalil, the leader of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, signed al-Qaeda’s 1998 declaration of holy war, which called on Muslims to attack all Americans and their allies.[198] Indian sources claimed that In 2006, Al-Qaeda claimed they had established a wing in Kashmir; this worried the Indian government.[199] India also argued that Al-Qaeda has strong ties with the Kashmir militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan.[200] While on a visit to Pakistan in January 2010, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that Al-Qaeda was seeking to destabilize the region and planning to provoke a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.[201]

In September 2009, a U.S. Drone strike reportedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri, who was the chief of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, a Kashmiri militant group associated with Al-Qaeda.[202][203] Kashmiri was described by Bruce Riedel as a ‘prominent’ Al-Qaeda member,[204] while others described him as the head of military operations for Al-Qaeda.[205] Waziristan had now become the new battlefield for Kashmiri militants, who were now fighting NATO in support of Al-Qaeda.[206] On 8 July 2012, Al-Badar Mujahideen, a breakaway faction of Kashmir centric terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, on the conclusion of their two-day Shuhada Conference called for a mobilization of resources for continuation of jihad in Kashmir.[207]

American military intervention in Cameroon[edit source]

In October 2015, the US began deploying 300 soldiers[208] to Cameroon, with the invitation of the Cameroonian government, to support African forces in a non-combat role in their fight against ISIS insurgency in that country. The troops’ primary missions will revolve around providing intelligence support to local forces as well as conducting reconnaissance flights.[209]

International military support[edit source]

The United Kingdom is the second largest contributor of troops in Afghanistan

The invasion of Afghanistan is seen to have been the first action of this war, and initially involved forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Afghan Northern Alliance. Since the initial invasion period, these forces were augmented by troops and aircraft from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway amongst others. In 2006, there were about 33,000 troops in Afghanistan.

On 12 September 2001, less than 24 hours after the 11 September attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and declared the attacks to be an attack against all 19 NATO member countries. Australian Prime Minister John Howard also stated that Australia would invoke the ANZUS Treaty along similar lines.[210]

In the following months, NATO took a broad range of measures to respond to the threat of terrorism. On 22 November 2002, the member states of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) decided on a Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism, which explicitly states, “[The] EAPC States are committed to the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms and human rights, as well as the rule of law, in combating terrorism.”[211] NATO started naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction as well as to enhance the security of shipping in general called Operation Active Endeavour.

Support for the U.S. cooled when America made clear its determination to invade Iraq in late 2002. Even so, many of the “coalition of the willing” countries that unconditionally supported the U.S.-led military action have sent troops to Afghanistan, particular neighboring Pakistan, which has disowned its earlier support for the Taliban and contributed tens of thousands of soldiers to the conflict. Pakistan was also engaged in the War in North-West Pakistan (Waziristan War). Supported by U.S. intelligence, Pakistan was attempting to remove the Taliban insurgency and al-Qaeda element from the northern tribal areas.[212]

Terrorist attacks and failed plots since 9/11[edit source]

Al-Qaeda[edit source]

Since 9/11, Al-Qaeda and other affiliated radical Islamist groups have executed attacks in several parts of the world where conflicts are not taking place. Whereas countries like Pakistan have suffered hundreds of attacks killing tens of thousands and displacing much more.

There may also have been several additional planned attacks that were not successful.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)[edit source]

So far, there has been only one failed plot by ISIL:[citation needed]

Post 9/11 events inside the United States[edit source]

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement helicopter patrols the airspace over New York City

In addition to military efforts abroad, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush Administration increased domestic efforts to prevent future attacks. Various government bureaucracies that handled security and military functions were reorganized. A new cabinet-level agency called the United States Department of Homeland Security was created in November 2002 to lead and coordinate the largest reorganization of the U.S. federal government since the consolidation of the armed forces into the Department of Defense.[citation needed]

The Justice Department launched the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System for certain male non-citizens in the U.S., requiring them to register in person at offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The USA PATRIOT Act of October 2001 dramatically reduces restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eases restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expands the Secretary of the Treasury‘s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadens the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers could be applied. A new Terrorist Finance Tracking Program monitored the movements of terrorists’ financial resources (discontinued after being revealed by The New York Times). Global telecommunication usage, including those with no links to terrorism,[218] is being collected and monitored through the NSA electronic surveillance program. The Patriot Act is still in effect.

Political interest groups have stated that these laws remove important restrictions on governmental authority, and are a dangerous encroachment on civil liberties, possible unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment. On 30 July 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the first legal challenge against Section 215 of the Patriot Act, claiming that it allows the FBI to violate a citizen’s First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment rights, and right to due process, by granting the government the right to search a person’s business, bookstore, and library records in a terrorist investigation, without disclosing to the individual that records were being searched.[219] Also, governing bodies in many communities have passed symbolic resolutions against the act.

John Walker Lindh was captured as an enemy combatant during the United States’ 2001 invasion of Afghanistan

In a speech on 9 June 2005, Bush said that the USA PATRIOT Act had been used to bring charges against more than 400 suspects, more than half of whom had been convicted. Meanwhile, the ACLU quoted Justice Department figures showing that 7,000 people have complained of abuse of the Act.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began an initiative in early 2002 with the creation of the Total Information Awareness program, designed to promote information technologies that could be used in counter-terrorism. This program, facing criticism, has since been defunded by Congress.

By 2003, 12 major conventions and protocols were designed to combat terrorism. These were adopted and ratified by many states. These conventions require states to co-operate on principal issues regarding unlawful seizure of aircraft, the physical protection of nuclear materials, and the freezing of assets of militant networks.[220]

In 2005, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1624 concerning incitement to commit acts of terrorism and the obligations of countries to comply with international human rights laws.[221] Although both resolutions require mandatory annual reports on counter-terrorism activities by adopting nations, the United States and Israel have both declined to submit reports. In the same year, the United States Department of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a planning document, by the name “National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism”, which stated that it constituted the “comprehensive military plan to prosecute the Global War on Terror for the Armed Forces of the United States…including the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and a rigorous examination with the Department of Defense”.

On 9 January 2007, the House of Representatives passed a bill, by a vote of 299–128, enacting many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission The bill passed in the U.S. Senate,[222] by a vote of 60–38, on 13 March 2007 and it was signed into law on 3 August 2007 by President Bush. It became Public Law 110-53. In July 2012, U.S. Senate passed a resolution urging that the Haqqani Network be designated a foreign terrorist organization.[223]

The Office of Strategic Influence was secretly created after 9/11 for the purpose of coordinating propaganda efforts but was closed soon after being discovered. The Bush administration implemented the Continuity of Operations Plan (or Continuity of Government) to ensure that U.S. government would be able to continue in catastrophic circumstances.

Since 9/11, extremists made various attempts to attack the United States, with varying levels of organization and skill. For example, vigilant passengers aboard a transatlantic flight prevented Richard Reid, in 2001, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, in 2009, from detonating an explosive device.

Other terrorist plots have been stopped by federal agencies using new legal powers and investigative tools, sometimes in cooperation with foreign governments.[citation needed]

Such thwarted attacks include:

The Obama administration has promised the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, increased the number of troops in Afghanistan, and promised the withdrawal of its forces from Iraq.

Casualties[edit source]

According to Joshua Goldstein, an international relations professor at the American University, The Global War on Terror has seen fewer war deaths than any other decade in the past century.[224]

There is no widely agreed on figure for the number of people that have been killed so far in the War on Terror as it has been defined by the Bush Administration to include the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and operations elsewhere. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and the Physicians for Social Responsibility and Physicians for Global Survival give total estimates ranging from 1.3 million to 2 million casualties.[225] Some estimates for regional conflicts include the following:

Child killed by a car bomb in Kirkuk, July 2011

File:CollateralMurder.ogv

Footage of leaked Apache gunship strike in Baghdad, July 2007

  • Iraq: 62,570 to 1,124,000
  • Iraq Body Count project documented 110,937–121,227 civilian deaths from violence from March 2003 to December 2012.[226][227][228]
  • 110,600 deaths in total according to the Associated Press from March 2003 to April 2009.[229]
  • 151,000 deaths in total according to the Iraq Family Health Survey.[230]
  • Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll conducted 12–19 August 2007 estimated 1,033,000 violent deaths due to the Iraq War. The range given was 946,000 to 1,120,000 deaths. A nationally representative sample of approximately 2,000 Iraqi adults answered whether any members of their household (living under their roof) were killed due to the Iraq War. 22% of the respondents had lost one or more household members. ORB reported that “48% died from a gunshot wound, 20% from the impact of a car bomb, 9% from aerial bombardment, 6% as a result of an accident and 6% from another blast/ordnance.”[231][232][233]
  • Between 392,979 and 942,636 estimated Iraqi (655,000 with a confidence interval of 95%), civilian and combatant, according to the second Lancet survey of mortality.
  • A minimum of 62,570 civilian deaths reported in the mass media up to 28 April 2007 according to Iraq Body Count project.[234]
  • 4,409 U.S. military dead (929 non-hostile deaths), and 31,926 wounded in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom.[235] 66 U.S. Military Dead (28 non-hostile deaths), and 295 wounded in action during Operation New Dawn.[235]
  • Afghanistan: between 10,960 and 249,000[236]
  • According to Marc W. Herold’s extensive database,[238] between 3,100 and 3,600 civilians were directly killed by U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom bombing and Special Forces attacks between 7 October 2001 and 3 June 2003. This estimate counts only “impact deaths”—deaths that occurred in the immediate aftermath of an explosion or shooting—and does not count deaths that occurred later as a result of injuries sustained, or deaths that occurred as an indirect consequence of the U.S. airstrikes and invasion.
  • In a pair of January 2002 studies, Carl Conetta of the Project on Defense Alternatives estimates that “at least” 4,200–4,500 civilians were killed by mid-January 2002 as a result of the war and Coalition airstrikes, both directly as casualties of the aerial bombing campaign, and indirectly in the resulting humanitarian crisis.
  • His first study, “Operation Enduring Freedom: Why a Higher Rate of Civilian Bombing Casualties?”,[241] released 18 January 2002, estimates that, at the low end, “at least” 1,000–1,300 civilians were directly killed in the aerial bombing campaign in just the three months between 7 October 2001 to 1 January 2002. The author found it impossible to provide an upper-end estimate to direct civilian casualties from the Operation Enduring Freedom bombing campaign that he noted as having an increased use of cluster bombs.[242] In this lower-end estimate, only Western press sources were used for hard numbers, while heavy “reduction factors” were applied to Afghan government reports so that their estimates were reduced by as much as 75%.[243]
  • In his companion study, “Strange Victory: A critical appraisal of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Afghanistan war”,[244] released 30 January 2002, Conetta estimates that “at least” 3,200 more Afghans died by mid-January 2002, of “starvation, exposure, associated illnesses, or injury sustained while in flight from war zones”, as a result of the war and Coalition airstrikes.
  • In similar numbers, a Los Angeles Times review of U.S., British, and Pakistani newspapers and international wire services found that between 1,067 and 1,201 direct civilian deaths were reported by those news organizations during the five months from 7 October 2001 to 28 February 2002. This review excluded all civilian deaths in Afghanistan that did not get reported by U.S., British, or Pakistani news, excluded 497 deaths that did get reported in U.S., British, and Pakistani news but that were not specifically identified as civilian or military, and excluded 754 civilian deaths that were reported by the Taliban but not independently confirmed.[245]
  • 2,046 U.S. military dead (339 non-hostile deaths), and 18,201 wounded in action.[235]
  • Pakistan: Between 1467 and 2334 people were killed in U.S. drone attacks as of 6 May 2011. Tens of thousands have been killed by terrorist attacks, millions displaced.
  • Somalia: 7,000+
  • In December 2007, The Elman Peace and Human Rights Organization said it had verified 6,500 civilian deaths, 8,516 people wounded, and 1.5 million displaced from homes in Mogadishu alone during the year 2007.[247]
  • USA

Total American casualties from the War on Terror
(this includes fighting throughout the world):

U.S. Military killed 7,008[235]
U.S. Military wounded 50,422[235]
U.S. DoD Civilians killed 16[235]
U.S. Civilians killed (includes 9/11 and after) 3,000 +
U.S. Civilians wounded/injured 6,000 +
Total Americans killed (military and civilian) 10,008 +
Total Americans wounded/injured 56,422 +

[251][252][253][254][255]

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has diagnosed more than 200,000 American veterans with PTSD since 2001.[256]

  • Yemen

Total terrorist casualties[edit source]

On December 7, 2015, the Washington post reported that since 2001, in five theaters of the war (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Somalia) that the total number of terrorists killed ranges from 65,800 to 88,600, with Obama administration being responsible for between 30,000 and 33,000.[257]

Costs[edit source]

A March 2011 Congressional report[258] estimated spending related to the war through the fiscal year 2011 at $1.2 trillion, and that spending through 2021 assuming a reduction to 45,000 troops would be $1.8 trillion. A June 2011 academic report[258] covering additional areas of spending related to the war estimated it through 2011 at $2.7 trillion, and long-term spending at $5.4 trillion including interest.[note 4]

According to the Soufan Group in July 2015, the United States government spends $9.4 million per day in operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.[259]

Expense CRS/CBO (Billions US$):[260][261][262] Watson (Billions constant US$):[263]
FY2001-FY2011
War appropriations to DoD 1208.1 1311.5
War appropriations to DoS/USAID 66.7 74.2
VA Medical 8.4 13.7
VA disability 18.9
Interest paid on DoD war appropriations 185.4
Additions to DoD base spending 362.2–652.4
Additions to Homeland Security base spending 401.2
Social costs to veterans and military families to date 295-400
Subtotal: 1283.2 2662.1–3057.3
FY2012-future
FY2012 DoD request 118.4
FY2012 DoS/USAID request 12.1
Projected 2013–2015 war spending 168.6
Projected 2016–2020 war spending 155
Projected obligations for veterans’ care to 2051 589–934
Additional interest payments to 2020 1000
Subtotal: 454.1 2043.1–2388.1
Total: 1737.3 4705.2–5445.4

Criticism[edit source]

Participants in a rally, dressed as hooded detainees

Criticism of the War on Terror addressed the issues, morality, efficiency, economics, and other questions surrounding the War on Terror and made against the phrase itself, calling it a misnomer. The notion of a “war” against “terrorism” has proven highly contentious, with critics charging that it has been exploited by participating governments to pursue long-standing policy/military objectives,[264] reduce civil liberties,[265] and infringe upon human rights. It is argued that the term war is not appropriate in this context (as in War on Drugs) since there is no identifiable enemy and that it is unlikely international terrorism can be brought to an end by military means.[266]

Other critics, such as Francis Fukuyama, note that “terrorism” is not an enemy, but a tactic; calling it a “war on terror”, obscures differences between conflicts such as anti-occupation insurgents and international mujahideen. With a military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and its associated collateral damage, Shirley Williams maintains this increases resentment and terrorist threats against the West.[267] There is also perceived U.S. hypocrisy,[268][269] media-induced hysteria,[270] and that differences in foreign and security policy have damaged America’s reputation internationally.[271]

Other Wars on Terror[edit source]

In the 2010s, China has also been engaged in its War on Terror, predominantly a domestic campaign in response to violent actions by Uighur separatist movements in the Xinjiang conflict.[272] This campaign was widely criticized in international media due to the perception that it unfairly targets and persecutes Chinese Muslims,[273] potentially resulting in a negative backlash from China‘s predominantly Muslim Uighur population.

Russia has also been engaged on its own, also largely internally focused, counter-terrorism campaign often termed a war on terror, during the Second Chechen War, the Insurgency in the North Caucasus, and the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[274] Like China‘s war on terror, Russia‘s has also been focused on separatist and Islamist movements that use political violence to achieve their ends.[275]

15 YEARS OF TERROR, AN ANIMATED TIME-LAPSE

Taliban

Annual turnover  – $ 400 million

Region: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Main funding sources:  drug trafficking (mainly production of opium and heroin), sponsorship fees and taxes, financial assistance and donations.

Goal: the establishment of an Islamic theocracy in Afghanistan

The Taliban is a militant political movement that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and applied the rule of Sunni Islamic Sharia law. A Pashtun (the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan) fundamentalist organization, which gained popularity despite allegations of corruption and discrimination by the government, deposed in September 1996. Immediately after taking over the country, it declared the rule of Sharia law, and enforced it brutally, targeting women: girls remained imprisoned in their homes and were not allowed to go to school, women were forbidden to study, and were forced to wear burqas. Those accused of adultery were taken to the main square or Municipal Stadium and shot. It was also strictly forbidden to play music or watch TV, and men whose beards were too short were flogged. Even before the attack on the Twin Towers the Taliban were accused of providing refuge and support to Al Qaeda.

The US invasion of the country following 9/11 put an end to the Taliban’s regime. The organization’s leadership fled to the Tora Bora Mountains, on the border with Pakistan, where they found refuge and began to rebuild.

But it seems the Taliban’s chief, Mohammed Omar, is responsible for one of the world’s most impressive military and financial recoveries. The fundamentalist organization, which seemed crushed and eliminated by the most powerful military in the world, regained its footing, and is now leading the insurgency against US forces and NATO, spreading rapidly throughout the country, while challenging and embarrassing the US administration. This recovery would never have been possible were it not for the sophisticated underground financial system that was built to finance the Taliban’s activities.
Since its loss of power (and all sources of capital) in 2001, the Taliban built a huge drug production and trafficking network. This network produces hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and made Afghanistan the world’s largest opium exporter. The Taliban itself does not grow the opium or produce the drugs. These tasks are left to farmers, drug manufacturers and smugglers. But every link in this huge drug chain pay the Taliban for “the protection and support”, that allow them to conduct their business freely. These payments, according to pentagon officials and the UN, amount to 100-300 million dollars a year.

In light of the strenuous activity of Western intelligence organizations to eliminate the organization’s sources of funding, the Taliban is careful to diversify. Raising funds from Arab countries in the Middle East has always remained a safe and effective way to do this, and according to a leaked confidential report by the CIA, revenue from donations can reach up to 100 million a year. In addition, the Taliban imposes fees and taxes from crop farmers and at various checkpoints under his control.

[7.7][Islamic group] Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan

.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
Participant in the War in North-West Pakistan and the War in Afghanistan
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan
Active December 2007 – present
Leaders Baitullah Mehsud (Dec 2007 – Aug 2009)Hakimullah Mehsud (Aug 2009 – present)
Headquarters South Waziristan
Area of operations Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Afghanistan Middle East
Strength Thousands[1]
Allies Al-Qaeda Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi Afghan Taliban (note: applying only for the War in Afghanistan) Central Intelligence Agency (note: supporting from the back i.e. giving cash & weapons) Research & Analysis Wing (note: supporting from the back i.e. giving cash & weapons)
Opponents Inter-Services Intelligence Pakistan Army
Battles/wars War in North-West Pakistan, War in Afghanistan, Syrian Civil War

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (the TTP) (Urdu/Pashto: تحریک طالبان پاکستان; lit. Student Movement of Pakistan), alternatively referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups based in the northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan. Most, but not all, Pakistani Taliban groups coalesce under the TTP.[2] In December 2007 about 13 groups united under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud to form the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.[1][3] Among the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s stated objectives are resistance against the Pakistani state, enforcement of their interpretation of sharia and a plan to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.[1][3][4] The TTP is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban movement led by Mullah Omar, with both groups differing greatly in their histories, strategic goals and interests although they both share a primarily Deobandi interpretation of Islam and are predominantly Pashtun.[4][5][6] The Afghan Taliban, with the alleged support of Pakistani Taliban, operate against international coalition and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan but are strictly opposed to targeting the Pakistani state.[5] The TTP in contrast has almost exclusively targeted elements of the Pakistani state although it took credit for the 2009 Camp Chapman attack and the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt.[7][8]

History

Roots and development

The roots of the TTP as an organization began in 2002 when the Pakistani military conducted incursions into the tribal areas to originally combat foreign (Afghan, Arab and Central Asian) militants fleeing from the war in Afghanistan into the neighbouring tribal areas of Pakistan.[1][9] A 2004 article by the BBC explains: The military offensive had been part of the overall war against al-Qaeda. … Since the start of the operation, the [Pakistani] military authorities have firmly established that a large number of Uzbek, Chechen and Arab militants were in the area. … It was in July 2002 that Pakistani troops, for the first time in 55 years, entered the Tirah Valley in Khyber tribal agency. Soon they were in Shawal valley of North Waziristan, and later in South Waziristan. … This was made possible after long negotiations with various tribes, who reluctantly agreed to allow the military’s presence on the assurance that it would bring in funds and development work. But once the military action started in South Waziristan a number of Waziri sub-tribes took it as an attempt to subjugate them. Attempts to persuade them into handing over the foreign militants failed, and with an apparently mishandling by the authorities, the security campaign against suspected al-Qaeda militants turned into an undeclared war between the Pakistani military and the rebel tribesmen.[9] Many of the TTP’s leaders are veterans of the fighting in Afghanistan and have supported the fight against the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force by providing soldiers, training, and logistics.[4] In 2004 various tribal groups, as explained above, that would later form the TTP, effectively established their authority in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) by concurrently engaging in military attacks and negotiating with Islamabad. By this time, the militants had killed around 200 rival tribal elders in the region to consolidate control.[3] Several Pakistani analysts also cite the inception of U.S. missile strikes in the FATA as a catalyzing factor in the rise of tribal militancy in the area. More specifically they single out an October 2006 strike on a madrassah in Bajaur that was run by the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi as a turning point.[10] In December 2007 the existence of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was officially announced under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud.[3] On 25 August 2008, Pakistan banned the group, froze its bank accounts and assets, and barred it from media appearances. The government also announced that bounties would be placed on prominent leaders of the TTP.[11] In late December 2008 and early January 2009 Mullah Omar sent a delegation, led by former Guantanamo Bay detaineeMullah Abdullah Zakir, to persuade leading members of the TTP to put aside differences and aid the Afghan Taliban in combating the American presence in Afghanistan.[4]Baitullah Mehsud, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, and Maulavi Nazir agreed in February and formed the Shura Ittehadul Mujahideen (SIM), also transliterated as Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahideen and translated into English as the Council of United Mujahedeen.[4][12][13] In a written statement circulated in a one-page Urdu-language pamphlet, the three affirmed that they would put aside differences to fight American-led forces and reasserted their allegiance to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden.[4][12] However, the SIM did not last very long and collapsed shortly after its announcement.[10][14]

Threats beyond Pakistan border

Qari Mehsud indicated in a video recorded in April 2010 the TTP would make cities in the United States a “main target” in response to U.S. drone attacks on TTP leaders.[15] The TTP claimed responsibility for the December 2009 suicide attack on CIA facilities in Camp Chapman in Afghanistan, as well as the attempted bombing in Times Square in May 2010.[7][8][16][17][18] In July 2012, the TTP threatened to attack Myanmar in the wake of sectarian violence against Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan state. TTP spokesman Ehsanullah demanded the Pakistani government to sever relations with Myanmar and close down the Burmese embassy in Islamabad, and warned of attacks against Burmese interests if no action was taken. While the TTP has been conducting an insurgency in Pakistan, its ability to expand operations to other countries has been questioned. This was a rare occasion in which it warned of violence in another country.[19][20]

Leadership crisis

In August 2009, a missile strike from a suspected U.S. drone killed Baitullah Mehsud. The TTP soon held a shura to appoint his successor.[21] Government sources reported that fighting broke out during the shura between Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman. While Pakistani news channels reported that Hakimullah had been killed in the shooting, Interior Minister Rehman Malik could not confirm his death.[22] On 18 August, Pakistani security officials announced the capture of Maulvi Omar, chief spokesperson of the TTP. Omar, who had denied the death of Baitullah, retracted his previous statements and confirmed the leader’s death in the missile strike. He also acknowledged turmoil among TTP leadership following the killing.[23] After Omar’s capture, Maulana Faqir Mohammed announced to the BBC that he would assume temporary leadership of the TTP and that Muslim Khan would serve as the organization’s primary spokesperson. He also maintained that Baitullah had not been killed, but rather was in bad health. Faqir further elaborated that decisions over leadership of the umbrella group would only be made in consultation and consensus with a variety of different TTP leaders. “The congregation of Taliban leaders has 32 members and no important decision can be taken without their consultation,” he told the BBC.[24][25] He reported to the AFP that both Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman had approved his appointment as temporary leader of the militant group.[26] Neither militant had publicly confirmed Faqir’s statement, and analysts cited by Dawn News believed the assumption of leadership actually indicated a power struggle.[27] Two days later Faqir Mohammed retracted his claims of temporary leadership and said that Hakimullah Mehsud had been selected leader of the TTP.[28] Faqir declared that the 42-member shura had also decided that Azam Tariq would serve as the TTP’s primary spokesperson, rather than Muslim Khan.[29] Under the leadership of Hakimullah, the TTP intensified its suicide campaign against the Pakistani state and against civilian (particularly Shia, Ahmedi and Sufi) targets.[10]

Designation as a terrorist organization

On 1 September 2010, the United States designated the TTP as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and identified Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali ur-Rehman as “specially designated global terrorists.” The designation of the TTP as an FTO makes it a crime to provide support or to do business with the group and also allows the U.S. to freeze its assets. The State Department also issued a $5 million reward for information on the two individuals’ locations.[30][31] In January 2011, the British government moved to classify the TTP as a banned terrorist organization under its Terrorism Act 2000.[32] In July 2011, the Canadian government also added the TTP to its list of banned terrorist organizations.[33]

Organizational structure

Overview

The TTP differs in structure to the Afghan Taliban in that it lacks a central command and is a much looser coalition of various militant groups, united by hostility towards the central government in Islamabad.[5][6][34] Several analysts describe the TTP’s structure as a loose network of dispersed constituent groups that vary in size and in levels of coordination.[10] The various factions of the TTP tend to be limited to their local areas of influence and often lack the ability to expand their operations beyond that territory.[35] In its original form, the TTP had Baitullah Mehsud as its amir. He was followed in the leadership hierarchy by Hafiz Gul Bahadur as naib amir, or deputy. Faqir Mohammed was the third most influential leader.[3] The group contained members from all of FATA’s seven tribal agencies as well as several districts of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), including Swat, Bannu, Tank, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohistan, Buner, and Malakand.[3] Some 2008 estimates placed the total number of operatives at 30–35,000, although it is difficult to judge the reliability of such estimates.[1] In the aftermath of Baitullah Mehsud’s death, the organization experienced turmoil among its leading militants. By the end of August 2009, however, leading members in the TTP had confirmed Hakimullah Mehsud as its second amir. Government and some TTP sources told the media that Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in January 2010 by injuries sustained during a U.S. drone attack. Unconfirmed reports from Orakzai Agency stated, after the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, Malik Noor Jamal, alias Maulana Toofan, had assumed leadership of the TTP until the group determined how to proceed.[36][37] Reuters, citing a report from The Express Tribune, indicated in July 2011 that Hakimullah Mehsud’s grip on the TTP leadership was weakening after the defection of Fazal Saeed Haqqani, the Taliban leader in the Kurram region, from the umbrella militant group. Haqqani cited disagreements over attacks on civilians as reason for the split. The paper quoted an associate of Mehsud’s as saying that “it looks as though he is just a figurehead now… He can hardly communicate with his commanders in other parts of the tribal areas … he is in total isolation. Only a few people within the TTP know where he is.”[38] A December 2011 report published in The Express Tribune further described the network as “crumbling” with “funds dwindling and infighting intensifying.” According to various TTP operatives, the difficulties stemmed from differences of opinion within TTP leadership on pursuing peace talks with Islamabad.[39] In December 2012 senior Pakistan military officials told Reuters that Hakimullah Mehsud had lost control of the group and that Wali-ur-Rehman was expected to be formally announced as the head of the TTP.[40] However a video released later in the month showed Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman seated next to each other, with Mehsud calling reports of a split between the two as propaganda.[41]

Leaders

Current

Former

Pakistani Taliban but not allied to TTP

Former

Spokesmen

Current

  • Shahidullah Shahid – Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan central Spokesman.[80]
  • Azam Tariq[81][82]
  • Sajjad Mohmand (Spokesman for Mohmand Agency).[83]
  • Mohammmad Afridi- TTP Spokesman for Darra Adam Khel & Khyber Agency.[84]
  • Muhammad Suleman – Spokesperson for Wana TTP.[66]
  • Sirajuddin Ahmed (Spokesman for Swat TTP).[85]
  • Hafiz Saeed Khan – TTP Spokesman for Orakzai Agency.[86]
  • Abdul Rashid Lashkari – Lashkar-e-Islam Spokesman for Khyber Agency.[87]
  • Asimullah Asim Mehsud (South Waziristan) [88][89]

Former

Media

The TTP’s “media arm” is “Umar Media”.[93] Umar Media provides a “behind the scenes” look at mujahiddin battles. Video clips are made in Pashto with Urdu subtitles.[94][95] Umar Media also reportedly operated a Facebook page which had been created in September 2012 and had a few “likes” and a “handful of messages written in English”. According to TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, the page was being “temporarily” used before the TTP would plan to launch its own website. SITE Intelligence Group described the Facebook page as a “recruitment centre” looking for people to edit the TTP’s quarterly magazine and videos.[96][97] The page was soon removed by Facebook and the account suspended.[97]

Relations with other militant groups

In a May 2010 interview, U.S. Gen. David Petraeus described the TTP’s relationship with other militant groups as difficult to decipher: “There is clearly a symbiotic relationship between all of these different organizations: al-Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, TNSM [Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi]. And it’s very difficult to parse and to try to distinguish between them. They support each other, they coordinate with each other, sometimes they compete with each other, [and] sometimes they even fight each other. But at the end of the day, there is quite a relationship between them.”[7] Director of National Intelligence and United States Navy Admiral, Dennis C. Blair, told U.S. senators that the Pakistani state and army meanwhile draw clear distinctions among different militant groups.[98] While links exist between the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the two groups are distinct enough for the Pakistani military to be able to view them very differently.[99] American officials said that the S Wing of the Pakistani ISI provided direct support to three major groups carrying out attacks in Afghanistan: the Afghan Taliban based in Quetta, Pakistan, commanded by Mullah Muhammad Omar; the militant network run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar; and a different group run by the guerrilla leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, all considered a strategic asset by Pakistan in contrast to the TTP run by Hakimullah Mehsud, which has engaged the Pakistani army in combat.[98]

Afghan Taliban

Main article: Taliban The Afghan Taliban and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan differ greatly in their history, leadership and goals although they share a primarily Deobandi interpretation of Islam and are both predominantly Pashtun.[5][6] The two groups are distinct, though linked, movements.[16][31] An Afghan Taliban spokesman told The New York Times: “We don’t like to be involved with them, as we have rejected all affiliation with Pakistani Taliban fighters … We have sympathy for them as Muslims, but beside that, there is nothing else between us.”[4][100] Peshawar-based security analyst Brigadier (retd) Muhamaad Saad believes the Taliban are not a monolithic entity. “They can be divided into three broad categories: [Afghan] Kandahari Taliban, led by Mullah Omar; [Afghan] Paktia Taliban, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani; and [Pakistani] Salfi Taliban [TTP],” he said. “It’s the Salfi Taliban who pose a real threat to Pakistan. They may not be obeying the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar.”[101] Some regional experts state that the common name “Taliban” may be more misleading than illuminating. Gilles Dorronsoro of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace believes that “[t]he fact that they have the same name causes all kinds of confusion.”[5] As the Pakistani Army began offensives against the Pakistani Taliban, many unfamiliar with the region mistakenly thought that the assault was against the Afghan Taliban of Mullah Omar.[5] Although the TTP has claimed allegiance with the Afghan Taliban in the Afghan Taliban’s insurgency in Afghanistan, the two groups have no direct affiliation.[4] The TTP has almost exclusively targeted elements of the Pakistani state.[7] The Afghan Taliban however have historically relied on support from the Pakistani army in their campaign to control Afghanistan.[10][102] Regular Pakistani army troops fought alongside the Afghan Taliban in the War in Afghanistan (1996–2001).[103] Major leaders of the Afghan Taliban including Mullah Omar, Jalaluddin Haqqani and Siraj Haqqani are believed to enjoy safe haven in Pakistan.[104] In 2006, Jalaluddin Haqqani was called a ‘Pakistani asset’ by a senior official of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.[104] Pakistan regards the Haqqanis as an important force for protecting its interests in Afghanistan and therefor has been unwilling to move against them.[104] Before the creation of the TTP some of their leaders and fighters were among the 10,000 Pakistani, Arab and Central Asian militants fighting as part of a 25,000 force in the War in Afghanistan (1996–2001) and the War in Afghanistan (2001-present) against the anti-Taliban United Islamic Front and NATO forces.[105] A 1998 U.S. State Department report stated that “20–40 percent of [regular] Taliban soldiers [were] Pakistani.”[102] After the fall of the Afghan Taliban in late 2001, many Pakistani Taliban militants, including members of today’s TTP, sought refuge in Pakistan.[106] Afghan Taliban maintaining contacts to Pakistan’s ISI[106] also fled for Pakistan where they regrouped, maintain safe havens and training camps and from where they launched their insurgency in Afghanistan.[107] Members of the two groups easily cross back and forth across the border between the two countries.[16] A journalist embedded with Canadian troops in Kandahar Province in the summer of 2006 indicated that “Pakistani Taliban were routinely captured” at the time.[108] Captured fighters admitted to being recruited and trained in Pakistan.[108] In 2007, Pakistani militants loyal to Baitullah Mehsud created the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and killed around 200 rival Pakistani leaders. They officially defined goals to establish their rule over Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas subsequently engaging the Pakistani army in heavy combat operations. Intelligence analysts believe that these TTP’s attacks on the Pakistani government, police and army strained relations between the Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban.[5] Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar asked the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in late 2008 and early 2009 to stop attacks inside Pakistan, to change their focus as an organization and to fight the Afghan National Army and ISAF forces in Afghanistan instead. In February 2009, the three dominant Pakistani Taliban leaders agreed to put aside their differences to help counter a planned increase in American troops in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their allegiance to Mullah Omar (and to Osama bin Laden).[4] The agreement among the TTP leaders was short-lived, however, and instead of fighting alongside the Afghan Taliban the rival Pakistani factions soon engaged in combat with each other.[10][14] In early January 2012, TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan announced that rival Taliban groups had made a new attempt to unite under a five-member council called the Shura-e-Murakeba at the behest of Mullah Omar. The TTP, he said, had agreed to Mullah Omar’s demand to end suicide attacks, attacks against the Pakistani military, kidnappings for ransom, and the killing of innocent Pakistanis so that they could help focus on US forces in Afghanistan. Among the factions in the agreement were those led by Hakimullah Mehsud, Maulvi Nazir, Waliur Rahman, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Siraj Haqqani.[109][110][111]

Cross-border controversy

Further information: Afghanistan–Pakistan skirmishes In July 2011, after Pakistani missile attacks against Afghan provinces, Pakistani media reports alleged that senior Pakistani Taliban leaders were operating from Afghanistan to launch attacks against Pakistani border posts. According to the reports, Qari Zia-ur-Rahman hosted Faqir Muhammad in Kunar province while Sheikh Dost Muhammad, a local Afghan Taliban leader, hosted Maulana Fazlullah in Nuristan province. Faqir Muhammad, who claimed responsibility for a 4 July 2011 attack on a paramilitary checkpoint and for similar attacks in June 2011 on several border villages in Bajaur, stated during a radio broadcast, “Our fighters carried out these two attacks from Afghanistan, and we will launch more such attacks inside Afghanistan and in Pakistan.” Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid strongly rejected the reports and denied the possibility of Pakistani Taliban setting up bases in Afghan Taliban-controlled areas.[112][113] Tameem Nuristani, Governor of Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province, told The Express Tribune that while the “Afghan Taliban have never carried out cross-border attacks in Pakistan,” TTP militants may have “safe-havens” in Kunar and Nuristan in “areas where the government’s writ does not exist”.[101] In June 2012 a spokesman from the TTP’s Malakand division revealed to The Express Tribune that TTP militants “regularly move across the porous border” to stage attacks against Pakistan but had only been in Afghanistan for a few months previously, contrary to Pakistani claims that the TTP had long used Afghan territory as a staging ground.[114] Both governments blame the other for harboring Taliban militants along the shared border.[115] In 2009 Pakistan launched offensives to force the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan from its territory in South Waziristan.[116] Some analysts say the fighting pushed TTP militants to the Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan, where they have regrouped to threaten Pakistani border regions.[117] The Pakistani military claims “scanty presence” of NATO and Afghan forces along the border has enabled militants to use these areas as safe havens and launch repeated attacks inside Pakistan.[117] Afghan officials state that the withdrawal of US forces out of parts of Kunar province beginning in 2010 created a power vacuum that militants filled.[118] They point to the fact that the Afghan state in some areas has little control due to its war against the Afghan Taliban which are supported by Pakistan according to many international and Afghan institutions, analysts and officials.[99][119] A claim Pakistan vehemently denies,[120] although some Afghan Taliban commanders stated that their training was indeed overseen by “ISI officers in a camp in Pakistan” and that they were being armed by Pakistan to fight the Afghan state and international troops in Afghanistan.[121][122][122] Although the Afghan Taliban have asked the TTP to stop attacks against the Pakistani military and state and themselves do not carry out such attacks,[109][110][111] they do not fight TTP militants crossing the border.

Al-Qaeda

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has close ties to Al Qaeda, sharing money and bomb experts and makers. John Brennan, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, said: “It’s a group that is closely allied with al-Qaeda. They train together, they plan together, they plot together. They are almost indistinguishable.”[123] Ambassador-at-large Daniel Benjamin stated, “The T.T.P. and Al Qaeda have a symbiotic relationship: T.T.P. draws ideological guidance from Al Qaeda, while Al Qaeda relies on the T.T.P. for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border… This mutual cooperation gives T.T.P. access to both Al Qaeda’s global terrorist network and the operational experience of its members. Given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, T.T.P. is a force multiplier for Al Qaeda.”[31]Ayesha Siddiqa of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars describes the TTP as “a franchise of al Qaeda” and attributes strong ties to al-Qaeda’s acquisition of “a more local character over the years.”[6] Since the days of the Soviet era, some al-Qaeda operatives have established themselves in Pashtun areas and enmeshed themselves in the local culture.[34] In 2008 Baitullah Mehsud met with Ayman al-Zawahiri in South Waziristan. Prior to this meeting the Pakistani Taliban answered to the Afghan Taliban and pro-Pakistan militant commanders. At the time Pakistani authorities believed that Mehsud was in fact an al-Qaeda operative.[35] In February 2009 Baitullah Mehsud, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulavi Nazir released a statement in which they reaffirmed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden.[4][12]

Ghazi Abdul Rashid Shaheed Brigade

The Ghazi Abdul Rashid Shaheed Brigade, whose name is commonly shortened to Ghazi Brigade or Ghazi Force, emerged as a jihadi organization after the Lal Masjid Operation of 2007. In 2009 the Ghazi Brigade worked closely with the TTP during military operations in the Swat Valley, and the two groups jointly planned attacks on western targets in Islamabad.[124][dead link][125]

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

The TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) have a long history of collaboration. At one point prior to his appointment as TTP chief, Baitullah Mehsud lived with Tohir Yo’ldosh, the IMU’s former leader, who became an ideological inspiration and offered the services of his 2,500 fighters to Mehsud.[126] In April 2009 Muslim Khan listed the IMU among the TTP’s allies in an interview with AP.[100] The IMU posted a video online in September 2010 that featured footage of Yo’ldosh’s successor, Abu Usman Adil, meeting with Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur Rahman Mehsud.[127]

Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab (Urdu/Punjabi/Saraiki: تحریک طالبان پنجاب), alternatively called the Punjabi Taliban, is an alleged loose network of members of banned militant groups based in South Punjab, the southernmost region of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province. Major factions of the so-called Punjabi Taliban include operatives of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan and Jaysh-i-Muhammad, who have previously supported the Kashmir insurgency against India in Jammu and Kashmir, a disputed territory administered by India that is claimed by Pakistan. TTP has significant recruits from Punjab-based sectarian organizations also called Punjabi Taliban.[128] The Punjabi Taliban have reportedly developed strong connections with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the AfghanTaliban, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi and various other groups based in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).[129][130] It has increasingly provided the foot-soldiers for violent acts and has played an important role in attacking Ahmedi, Shia, Sufi and other civilian targets in the Punjab.[10][131] The term “Punjabi Taliban” is politically sensitive among Pakistanis,[10] given that Punjabis are the largest ethnic group in the country and have historically been disassociated with the Taliban, an organisation that has Afghan and Pashtun roots. Although the Punjabi Taliban are claimed and believed to be an established militant group, the Government of Punjab has denied and rejected their existence.[132]Shahbaz Sharif, the Punjab Chief Minister, has claimed that the term Punjabi Taliban is “an insult to the Punjabis” and accuses that it was coined by Rehman Malik purposely on ethnic grounds.[133] During a 17 March 2010 cabinet meeting Malik confirmed that Punjabi militants had joined Waziristan-based Taliban to stage attacks inside Punjab.[130]Georgetown University‘s C. Christine Fair writes that “the movement is composed of Pashtuns and Punjabis, among other Pakistani and even foreign elements.”[10] The Lahore police accused them as responsible for the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team which took place in Lahore on 3 March 2009.[134] The group also claimed the 2009 Lahore bombing shortly after the attack, although the attack was also claimed by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan,[135] and the May 2010 attacks on Ahmadi mosques in Lahore which were aimed at the Ahmadi minority sect.[136] Pamphlets found at the scene of the March 2011 assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti implicated the Punjabi Taliban.[131][137] On 24 August 2013, A spokesman for the Tehriq Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed that the Head of the Punjabi Taliban faction Asmatullah Muawiya has been stripped of his leadership for welcoming the government’s peace talk offer. Shahidullah Shahid, spokesman for the Hakimullah Mehsud-led Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), said “The Taliban decision making body met under Commander Hakimullah Mehsud and decided that Asmatullah Muawiya has no relation with the TTP,” . Last week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had offered dialogue to “those elements which unfortunately have taken the course of extremism”.Muawiya said Sharif had demonstrated political maturity by reiterating his offer to hold negotiations. Muawiya had said militants in Pakistan should respond positively if the government is serious about resolving the conflict.Muawiya responded that the Taliban shura did not have the capacity to remove him because the Punjabi Taliban is a separate group. He said his group has its own decision-making body to decide leadership and other matters.[138]

Other groups

US officials admitted to The New York Times that they found it increasingly difficult to separate the operations of the various Pakistani militant groups active in the tribal areas of Pakistan.[8] Individuals and groups that are believed to have a supportive relationship with the TTP include:

Claimed and alleged attacks

Main article: List of terrorist incidents in Pakistan since 2001 Pakistan Administrative Units; the TTP’s main area of operation are FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

  • The Pakistani government implicated the network in the December 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto although the group denies the charge. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency also confirmed its belief of TTP’s involvement in January 2008.
  • The Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariate-Mohammadi (TNSM) claimed responsibility for a 23 December 2007 suicide bombing targeting a military convoy on behalf of the TTP. The blast in the Mingora area of the Swat Valley killed five soldiers and six civilians.[3]
  • TTP spokesman Maulvi Umar claimed that the group was responsible for 21 August 2008 suicide bomb attack on a military complex.
  • TTP claimed responsibility for the 23 August 2008 Swat Valley bombing.
  • Someone using the name Abdur Rehman claimed that the TTP was behind a 6 November 2008 suicide bombing that targeted tribal elders, who had gathered in the Bajaur tribal area to discuss efforts to coordinate with the government against the Pakistani Taliban. The blast took the lives of 16 and injured 31.[142]
  • On 13 November 2008, the TTP intercepted a military convoy along the Khyber Pass bound for NATO troops in Afghanistan.
  • In telephone interviews with news media Mehsud claimed responsibility for the 30 March 2009 attack on the police training academy in Lahore.[143][144] He told the BBC that the attack was in retaliation for continued missile strikes from American drones for which the Pakistani government shared responsibility. In the same interview Mehsud claimed two other attacks: a 25 March attack on an Islamabad police station and a 30 March suicide attack on a military convoy near Bannu.[143]
  • Mehsud claimed responsibility for the Binghamton shootings, stating that they were in retaliation for continued missile strikes from American drones. The FBI denied this claim and stated this had nothing to do with Mehsud.[145]
  • Azam Tariq, spokesman of the TTP, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a security checkpoint along the Pakistan-Afghan border near Torkham on 27 August 2009. Tariq said by telephone that the attack was the first in retaliation for the death of Baitullah Mehsud. Although the exact number of casualties was unknown, a doctor at a nearby hospital told Dawn News that they had received 22 bodies and local people working at the blast site said they had retrieved 13 bodies.[146]
  • Azam Tariq claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed five at the UN’s World Food ProgrammeIslamabad offices on 5 October 2009.[147]
  • The TTP, through Azam Tariq, claimed responsibility for the October 2009 attack on the army’s headquarters at Rawalpindi. Tariq told the Associated Press that the attack was carried out by its “Punjabi faction” although the military insisted the attack originated in South Waziristan.[148]
  • The militant group claimed responsibility for three separate coordinated attacks in Lahore. 10 militants targeted buildings used by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Manawan Police Training School and the Elite Police Academy.[149]
  • The Pakistani Taliban, as well as the Afghan Taliban, claimed responsibility for the 30 December 2009 attack on Camp Chapman, a base of operations for the CIA, inside Khost Province, Afghanistan. The TTP released a video of Hakimullah Mehsud sitting next to the suicide bomber, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian national who had been working with the CIA. In the video, al-Balawi states that the attack is in retaliation for the killing of Baitullah Mehsud. Many analysts doubted that the TTP acted alone.[16][17]
  • In a video posting on YouTube, Qari Hussain claimed that the TTP was behind the May 2010 attempted car bomb in New York City’s Times Square.[150] (Previously the TTP had claimed responsibility for a shooting at an immigrant centre in NY, but it was dismissed as a hoax claim[citation needed])
  • An attack on two minority mosques in Lahore during May 2010 was claimed by the Taliban.
  • In July 2010, the TTP claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the Mohmand Agency. Two blasts occurred outside a senior government official’s office as people gathered to receive relief supplies. As many as 56 people died and at least 100 suffered injuries.[151]
  • On 4 October 2010 the TTP claimed responsibility for an attack near Islamabad on fuel tankers bound for NATO troops in Afghanistan.[152]
  • In December 2010, the TTP claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing upon administrative buildings in the Mohmand district’s Ghalalnai village. The blast killed 40–50 people. The purported head of the TTP in Mohmand, Omar Khalid, claimed responsibility in a telephone call with the AFP.[153][154] The military’s chief spokesman, Major GeneralAthar Abbas indicated to Al Jazeera that the TTP attackers were based in neighboring Afghanistan.[155]
  • In December 2010, the TTP in South Waziristan kidnapped 23 tribesmen who had recently attended meetings with the Pakistani military.[156]
  • The TTP claimed responsibility for a 15 January 2011 attack on NATO fuel tankers likely bound for the border crossing town of Chaman. Azam Tariq told the AP, “We have assigned our fighters to go after NATO supply tankers wherever in Pakistan.”[157]
  • On 31 January 2011 Azam Tariq, on behalf of the TTP, claimed responsibility of a suicide bombing in Peshawar that targeted police. The blast killed 5 people (3 police and 2 civilians) and injured 11.[158]
  • On 10 February 2011 the TTP claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at an army compound in Mardan that killed at least 31 people. Azam Tariq told the AFP that the attack was in response to repeated U.S. drone attacks and military incursions in the tribal areas. He also threatened further attacks against “those who protect the Americans”.[159][160]
  • The TTP released a video of the execution of a former ISI officer known as Colonel Imam. The TTP said they had carried out the murder on 17 February 2011. His body was found near Mir Ali, North Waziristan.[161][162][163]
  • On 8 March 2011 a car bomb explosion at a gas station in Faisalabad killed at least 32 and injured 125. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility and stated that the intended target was a nearby ISI office. He said that the attack was in retaliation for the death of a Taliban commander the previous year.[164][165]
  • On 9 March 2011 a suicide bomber attacked a funeral procession in Peshawar. The procession consisted of many anti-Taliban militiamen. Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said the Pakistani Taliban had carried out the attack because the militiamen had allied themselves with the Pakistani government and, by extension, the United States.[166][167]
  • On 4 April 2011 two suicide bombers attacked a Sufi shrine in Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan. The bombings occurred while thousands of devotees were gathered for the annual Urs celebrations at the shrine. The attack left more than 50 people dead, as well as 120 wounded.[168] The Pakistani Taliban are ideologically opposed to Sufism and claimed responsibility soon after the attacks.[169]
  • Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for two remotely-detonated explosions that targeted two Pakistani Navy buses in Karachi on 26 April 2011.[170]
  • Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for a 28 April 2011 attack upon a Pakistani Navy bus in Karachi that killed 5.[170]
  • On 13 May 2011 the TTP claimed responsibility for a dual suicide bomb attacks on a Frontier Constabulary (FC) headquarters in Shabqadar, a town about 30 kilometers north of Peshawar, in Charsadda District. The attack killed more than 80 and injured at least 115 people. Most of the casualties were FC cadets. TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed that the attack was retribution for the killing of Osama bin Laden.[171]
  • The TTP claimed responsibility for a 22 May 2011 attack on a naval station in Karachi.[172]
  • A suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden pickup truck into a Peshawar police building on 25 May 2011. The blast killed six and wounded 30. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.[173]
  • On 13 September 2011, five militants with assault rifles and rockets attacked a school bus, killing the driver, four boys aged 10 to 15, and wounding two seven-year-old girls. TTP claimed responsibility.[174]
  • On 1 December 2011 the TTP claimed responsibility for the death of Hashim Zaman, an anti-TTP tribal leader, who was killed in Hangu.[175][176]
  • TTP militants abducted 15 Pakistani paramilitary soldiers on 23 December 2011 from a fort in Mullazai. TTP spokesperson Ihsanullah Ihsan announced on 5 January 2012 that the militant group had executed the 15 paramilitary soldiers.[177][178] The bodies were recovered close to a ravine and were mutilated according to locals.[179] On 22 January 2012 the TTP released a video showing the execution of the 15 soldiers.[180][181][182]
  • Ahmed Marwat, a spokesman for a Jandola faction of the TTP, claimed to Reuters that Mohammed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent suspected of killing seven people in Toulouse, France, had received TTP training in North Waziristan. However, Marwat denied the TTP’s involvement in the shootings, and the head of French intelligence indicated they had no evidence that Merah belonged to any militant Islamist group.[183] Pakistani officials allege that the TTP trained 85 French nationals between 2009 and 2012.[184]
  • The TTP Khyber Agency faction claimed responsibility for a 23 March 2012 bombing that targeted a mosque, run by Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI), in Kolay village of Tirah Valley. The blast killed more than a dozen people and injured at least six others. A TTP spokesman told reporters that the attacks against the LeI would continue.[185]
  • The TTP claimed responsibility for an 5 April 2012 suicide bombing targeting a police vehicle in Karachi. The blast killed two and injured nine.[186][187]
  • On 15 April 2012 the TTP claimed responsibility for a prison break in Bannu. 384 convicts escaped although many were later recaptured.[188][189]
  • A suicide bomb on 4 May 2012 killed 24 and wounded at least 45 in a Bajaur market . The TTP claimed responsibility.[190]
  • The Malakand branch of the TTP claimed responsibility for 24 June 2012 attacks on Pakistani security checkpoints near the Afghan border. 13 Pakistani troops were reportedly killed while 14 militants died. The Pakistani military alleged that the militants had crossed over from Afghanistan, but the TTP did not confirm in claiming responsibility. The TTP also denied that it had taken casualties.[191][192]
  • On 25 June 2012 the TTP claimed responsibility for gunfire on Aaj News TV, a local station in Karachi. Two were injured. Ehsanullah Ehsan said that the TTP was upset that it was not receiving coverage equal to that of the Pakistani military and government.[193][194]
  • On 9 July 2012 miltants linked to the TTP attacked an army camp near Gujrat city that killed seven soldiers and a policeman. A pamphlet found at the scene indicated that attacks against government installations would continue as long as Pakistan allowed NATO to use its territory to transport supplies into Afghanistan.[195][196]
  • The TTP claimed responsibility for an 16 August 2012 attack on the Minhas Airbase in Kamra. The two-hour firefight resulted in the deaths of nine insurgents and two soldiers. Three other soldiers were wounded.[197]
  • On 16 August 2012 militants removed 22 Shiites from buses and executed them in Mansehra District. The Darra Adam Khel faction of the TTP claimed responsibility in a telephone interview with Reuters.[198]
  • The TTP claimed responsibility for the 9 October 2012 school-bus shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a young activist blogger, and two other schoolgirls.[199][200] Supporting the attack, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan stated “whom so ever leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah is ordered to be killed by Shariah.” He added that it is “not just allowed … but obligatory in Islam” to kill such a person involved “in leading a campaign against Shariah… .”[201]

Involvement in Syrian civil war

The Taliban have set up camps and reinforced hundreds of fighters to Syria to fight alongside rebels opposed to Bashar al-Assad in continuity of cementation of ties with al Qaeda.[202] Taliban commanders in Pakistan said that they had decided to join the cause, saying hundreds of fighters had gone to Syria to fight alongside their “Mujahedeen friends”.[202] The Taliban commander termed the Arab fighters as their friends. Media reported the visit and setup of a Pakistani Taliban base in Syria to assess “the needs of the jihad”.[203] the Taliban commader said: “Since our Arab brothers have come here for our support, we are bound to help them in their respective countries and that is what we did in Syria”[204] At least 12 experts in information technology and warfare were sent to Syria in the last two months to aid the Mujahideen. The Pakistani government has not commented on the allegations[203]