Pak Army can clear Taliban held areas once but not hold them for long: Expert

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Washington, May 20 (ANI): The Swat military offensive may well see Pakistan recapturing the regions upon which the Taliban has established its control in the Valley, but the real question is that for how long it would be able to sustain the areas within its control.

Experts fear that the Pakistan Army may not be able to hold the region under its grip for long.

"The Army can clear if by clearing it means utter devastation, but it certainly doesn't seem able to hold," an analyst with RAND Corporation, Christine Fair said.

According to Fair, the basic problem with the Pakistan Army is that it is not trained for counterinsurgency, and is basically a conventional unit formed to fight against traditional rivals.

"Partly they have a doctrinal problem. They don't have a lot of institutions you'd expect them to have, because they are not a counterinsurgency military," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Fair, as saying.

The fears about Pakistan Army not being able to hold back a particular region for long is not without a reason, as the military has a poor track record of holding cleared territory.

There are several more reasons which would make the military's task more daunting.

First the security forces would have to establish their complete control over the Valley, then they would have to ensure complete peace in the region together with law and order and local administration, so that the thousands of displaced people may return to their homes.

All this would not be such an easy task, as the morale of the local administration is low.

Several internally displaced persons (IDPs) are angry with the Army for carrying out the offensive which has resulted in the massive exodus.

Generally it appears that the operation has a broad support across Pakistan, but that could wear down quickly, as long as the IDPs suffer in the camps.

Three months ago the Army had claimed that it has entirely cleared the tribal area of Bajaur, but the situation is still simmering in the region, with reports of the Taliban targeting the tribal elders despite a peace accord in place. (ANI)

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