INTERVIEW
 
Pakistani Militants Threaten Offensive
CNN
July 4, 2008
Tribal militants in Pakistan are vowing to take the offensive to their enemies. Pakistani security forces sweeping through this area (Kheyber Agency), waging an offensive against pro-Taliban forces. But militant leader Munsif Khan Afridi appears untroubled. And he is making his own threatrs.

Munsif Khan Afridi: “We will retaliate in their own countries. We will retaliate in Afghanistan. We will retaliate in Palestine. We will retaliate inside America.”

Almost one week into the new Pakistani government’s first military offensive against Islamic extremist, many pro-Taliban militants like Munsif Khan have simply moved to other parts of Pakistan’s longest tribal region along the Afghan border, where they roam freely, even pose for pictures.

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad, an Islamabad-based terrorism expert says, in his vew, the government’s offensive is simply a show of force. “I don’t think they are taking it that seriously.”

To quiet critics in Washington, who believe Pakistan should stop its efforts to negotiste with militants and get in tough, instead.

“This action is more of a façade, rather than a concrete operation. Until and unless, the government shows real resolve and firm determination, we are not gonna solve this problem,” says Ahmad.

Pakistan’s new government says otherwise. It describes the offensive as a major assault against extremists who were threatening the city of Peshawar, kidnapping residents and intimidating surrounding towns.

“We felt that at this time the writ of the government has to be enforced,” says Rehman Malik, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Interior Affairs.

The government says it has destroyed several militant headquarters and arrested scores of extremists. But Munsif Khan remains free. And he is threatening revenge.

He says, “If they launch missiles on us, then we will respond to bricks with rocks.”

Government officials say there are at least three militant groups operating in this area where they have launched this offensive. There are no indications that the group’s leaders have been arrested. Even so the government says so far the operation is a success and another one is coming soon.

Access video at cnn.com