Right after the attack of 9/11, the United States and allies waged a ‘war on terrorism’ against a handful of terrorists who were then living on Afghan soil. US’s invasion of Afghanistan was followed by the search operations and heavy bombardment which forced terrorists to spread in the nearby areas. Unfortunately, to save their lives, some terrorists also migrated towards the tribal areas of Pakistan. Whenever they got the chance, they not only launched attacks on foreign soil, but also punished the host country. Also, their presence in Pakistan’s territory enabled our rivals to fund these terrorists for launching a proxy war in Pakistan. In no time these few terrorists became a lethal parasite and ultimately forced Pakistan to strike back with full power. Thus, the war that was once waged against a handful of terrorists became war of every Pakistani.
Unfortunately, in the name of the war on terrorism, we have made more sacrifices for the stability of this region and earned less appreciation, as compared to any other country. Apart from other loses, we have lost almost 50,000 lives. In return we have been rewarded with bare allegations and so called friendly attacks, which not only undermined the stance of Pakistan in the international community, but also forced the Pakistani nation to question their concerned authorities about their policies regarding the US led war on terrorism. Knowing that taking a side would be inevitable for the stability of this region, facing internal or external pressure was the only option that was available to Pakistan. Meanwhile, incidents like the Salala check post and the OBL death operation added fuel to the fire.
The US and allies claim to be the ultimate victors of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan but since the beginning of this war, the names on the most wanted list of terrorists have increased not decreased. Even if the US and allies state that they have uprooted Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, they have no reason to negate that Afghanistan that was the land of a handful of terrorists before 9/11 is now overloaded with terrorists or potential terrorists. Although, all countries are concerned about the prevalent challenges of terrorism, by launching successful operations like ZarbeAzb, Pakistan has proved, loud and clear, that it might be a victim but not a supporter of terrorism.
What have we achieved from operation Zarb-e-Azb? Time has proved that the only way to deal with terrorists is to speak to them in their own language. Because of Zarb-e-Azb, TTP is now on the verge of extinction in North Waziristan. Since the beginning of this operation, the number of terrorist attacks has reduced. The United States of America that once used to doubt our every effort in the war against terrorism, is now acknowledging our positive role for the stability of this region. Army chief General Raheel Sharif’s first official visit to the United States is supposed to fortify friendship between the two countries. Not only this, recently both Pakistan and Afghanistan have acknowledged that the stability of both countries is dependent on each other. Afghanistan that blamed us for launching a proxy war in their territory is now making efforts to improve relations between the two countries. A new chapter of Pak – Russia bilateral relations is going to open and a military deal will be in the best interest of the economy of both countries. All of this is nothing but the fruits of operation Zarb-e-Azb, for which we owe special thanks to our soldiers.