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Guerrilla Warfare in Pakistan.

Sabotage, ambush, surprise attacks and unconventional espionage methods are key ingredients of Guerrilla warfare. The word “Guerrilla” means Short War in Spanish and this term was coined by Spanish people  during 18th century war with occupied forces.  At that time Spanish freedom fighters  were divided into many decentralized teams which operated  independently.  Instead of fighting conventional war with occupied force they opted to engage them in several mini micro wars.  They designed their Strategies to disrupt supply lines of enemy and get psychological advantage by harassment and surprise attacks.

Later Foco of Cuba,  Hu Chi Minh of Vietnam, Mao Zedong of China and Afghan mujahideen introduced several new tactics and  moral code to this  art of fighting.  Historically, we can trace war tactics similar to guerrilla war in famous book “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, in this book he explains some literary knowledge about guerrilla type war, later famous Marxist guerrilla Che Govera in his book comprehensively explains modern guerrilla techniques. The most significant book “War of flea” proved to be  the Bible of guerrilla warfare. From South America to Eastern Europe all major guerrilla movements were designed on techniques provided by this book including late  Baloch Separatist leader Akbar Bughti.

Currently, there are several versions of guerrilla warfare, most important one are American guerrilla war, Russian guerrilla war, Arab guerrilla war and Chechen guerrilla war.   Arab and Chechen guerrilla warfare are urban center and they mainly focus on suicidal type tactics.  On other hand classical guerrilla warfare like American and Russian versions mainly focus strategic roots like supply lines, proactive espionage and economical sabotage.  Arab and Chechen versions are the product of experience and indigenous available resources while American and Russian versions are products of extensive research including study of psychology and geographical condition of the war zone.

Afghan guerrilla war is the product of cross-fertilization between American and Indigenous guerrilla warfare.  Afghan guerrilla war started after Soviet occupation in 1979.  Initially, Afghan resistance movement was neither conventional nor guerrilla style; it was indigenous tribal warfare, however, it was not so effective than conventional guerrilla war.  When United States jumped into frying  pan and introduced highly advanced guerrilla tactics, this transformed all style of Afghan guerrilla war. It was the first time when any guerrilla force was equipped by highly modernized surface to air missiles and lethal industrial grade explosives mainly from West.  Later Arabs and Chechens also introduced their urban style ambush in Afghan guerrilla war.

After 9/11 Pakistan witnessed mushroom growth of  guerrilla groups in tribal areas.  Like Afghan resistance groups they also practice highly modernized guerrilla tactics in their war.  Uzbeks and Chechens also put some flavor to this technique and it became recipe of disaster for Pakistan’s arm forces.  The most important thing that differentiate Pakistani guerrilla warfare to other is their use of politics and use of negotiation, which differs principles of conventional guerrilla warfare. Mao Zedong defines guerrilla tactics in following words:

The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue.”

Historically, all guerrilla forces use above mentioned method effectively, however, as I have mentioned Pakistani groups put another component of “negotiation” into this. This new method allow them to buy adequate time to regroup and acquire ideal  geographically important places.

These groups are no more relay on conventional weapons, they have developed their own range of weapons from IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to IRAM (improvised rocket assisted mortar).   Use of ordinary fertilizer which is chiefly available in every village they can establish their armory and explosive factory virtually any part of the country. These indigenous explosives are highly effective both in terms of their lethality and undetectability. Recently, these groups manufactured plastic mines rather using old Russian and Chinese mines.

The most important tool which distinguished them from other forces is their use of electronic and social media like FM radios, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube both  for propagation of  their teachings and victories and for recruitment also.  This movement is also financially stable because of their local revenue resources and use of cost-effective technology like use of fertilizer and other chiefly available items. Although, they have huge variety of indigenous weapons they also use modern weapons including surface to surface guided missiles which they mostly acquired from NATO supplies.  With guided missiles and misguided fighters, guerrilla warfare in Pakistan is currently most lethal art of fighting in the world, we can call Pakistani version as “Guerrilla 2.0.”

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