Intelligence: The War On Roofs

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June 24, 2016: Since mid-2014 the Pakistan military has been fighting Islamic terrorists in Waziristan, mainly North Waziristan. Most of the 800,000 civilians in Waziristan fled to avoid the fighting, which mainly consisted of air strikes and artillery fire. This firepower, plus explosive traps left behind by the departing Islamic terrorists, destroyed most of the housing in North Waziristan and nearly as many in South Waziristan. There was also a problem with Islamic terrorists hiding in some abandoned villages. These rural villages were often little fortresses built of mud brick, except for the roofs, which were usually wood or sheet metal (to deal with the heavy Winter snows). To help with the frequent aerial reconnaissance (using F-16s, helicopters and UAVS) ground patrols were ordered to remove the roofs of buildings likely to conceal remaining, or returning Islamic terrorists. Air strikes or artillery were used against any roofs that reappeared or were not removed in a remote area where Islamic terrorists were spotted. The government paid compensation to the families of those homes, to replace the roofs and repair other damage. The missing roof tactic appeared to work, especially if aerial reconnaissance spotted

The attack on North Waziristan initially involved F-16s, helicopter gunships and army artillery. The air force also provided pretty good aerial reconnaissance. Ground troops did little attacking but thousands manned checkpoints on the borders of North Waziristan and mounted regular patrols along those borders. Despite this those borders still provided many opportunities for people to sneak past the troops. Most of the Waziristan border is with Afghanistan and that was not as tightly guarded, which made it relatively easy for Islamic terrorists to hike across the border to villages that are hospitable to Pakistani Islamic terrorists. This included abandoned villages, but the war on roofs made abandoned villages much less useful.

 


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