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HomeDefencePakistan's own terror brew killing its young army officers, not India

Pakistan’s own terror brew killing its young army officers, not India

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Pakistan Army has lost as many young officers along the Western border this year as it lost in 2002 to accidents and shelling from India.

New Delhi: The Pakistan Army has been fast losing its young officers to homegrown terror on the Western border, replacing operations on the Indian side as the primary cause for casualties.

In what is now a continuing pattern, a series of recent encounters in which young officers – from newly commissioned lieutenants to combat experienced majors – have fallen took place on the restive western frontier.

The latest was 28-year-old Major Ishaq, who died in Dera Ismail Khan on Wednesday, days after Captain Junaid Hafeez lost his life to a cross-border attack by terrorists from Afghanistan. A total of 11 young officers of the Pakistani Army have died in such operations this year, according to official data with the Pakistani Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

A collage of photos of Pakistan Army soldiers who died in 2017
Some of the officers of the Pakistan Army who have been killed in 2017 | @DGISPR

In sharp contrast, a comparison of casualties of young officers before home-grown terror became a problem for Pakistan shows that most of its losses were on the India border. Official Pakistani Army data on casualties accessed by ThePrint shows that in 2002 also, 11 young officers were killed during service.

However, most of these were attributed to either shelling from India or accidents in difficult areas like the Siachen Glacier and other mountainous border posts. Three captains and a major are listed as having being killed due to `snow slides’ while a captain died after falling down from a mountain. Yet another captain died due to dehydration at a high altitude post.


Official data on Pakistani casualties was collated from the Pakistani Army site, before it was taken off a few years ago, apparently as it exposed its list of soldiers killed in the Kargil operations. Young officers are crucial to successful operations – leading from the front to muster troops to take on hard to hit targets. Indian anti-terror operations too hinge on youngsters who lead small strike groups into action.

It was only after the US invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 post the 9/11 attacks that the Pakistani Army got actively involved in fighting on its Western Frontier. The first casualties listed in 2002 on the Western Front were under Operation Al Mizan (Justice).

A paper in the Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan (JRSP) describes the objective of the operation to clear South Waziristan of “militants, extremists and the jihadists especially of those international militants who had threatened Pakistan’s security, solidarity and sovereign status.”

Taking on a fight for the American cause, in return of which the Pakistani Army received considerable funds and equipment under Washington’s foreign military assistance pact, the operation was designed as a supporting tool. Since then, continued operations under different names have taken place on Pakistan’s western border.

“The Operation Al-Mizan was aimed to capture the master mind and operatives of these terrorist organizations making plan to deepen its roots in the PATA and FATA regions. These terrorists had begun their offences not only against Pakistan army but targeted the US and NATO forces, as they attacked the US fire bases, on the Pak-Afghan border,” the JSRP paper reads.

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  1. Satish is laughably naive. So our killers are noble, and their killers are assassins. Our motherland’s principles are so full of honour, and Pak protecting its own national interest is filthy? As if a severed head is more savage than a clinical sanitised clean hit – both targets fall dead you know. Oh, and only civilians should aim for corner plots, is it? All armies are the same. They step in where diplomacy fails and do the deadly bidding of politicians who rabble rouse. And there’s only thing common to all young dead soldiers fighting either enemy, insurgency or disgruntled domestic terrorists: They are all dead. You can keep shedding your precious tears for Indian soldiers, since your phoenix like principled tears are going to make dead men alive again. Laughable really

  2. The uniform wearing men in Pakistan don’t deserve to be called ‘Army’. An army is a collection of young warriors willing to go in harm’s way to defend their motherland and the principles she upholds. Majors who direct terrorists in Mumbai ovee cellphones, Captains who tortture and mutilate bodies of officers and Colonels who gloat over trophies of severed heads brought from across the borders are animals by my reckoning. A disgrace to the uniform they wear all in the hope of getting a corner plot or sinecure when they retire. I feel sorry for the families of the young Pakistani officers killed but unable to shed a tear.

  3. Just like young Indian officers die fighting Kashmir militants ? Or maybe the CRPF bravehearts who are killed by Naxals? It’s one thing to report a study, and quite another to gloat about how someone else is suffering. Schadenfreude. Pakistan is fighting extremism – trying hard to. India might only realise how tough it is, when the Hindu terrorists start wrecking havoc, like Purohit from our Army, and noone takes them on. So spare Pakistan the smug ‘we told you so’. I can understand Pak is failing with army helping militants, but is India any better? With the cops, judiciary, bureaucracy, assorted lunatic Ministers, and army weed like Purohit spawning our own terrorism? Please think deep and hard before you point fingers. Such stories are beating a dead horse. Just be aware of where India is: exactly where Pak was a few yrs ago. And young men died. Have some empathy.

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