With all eyes seemingly focused on the insurgent offensive in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), another theater of the international war on terror has produced some encouraging signs for progress against fundamentalist militants. In Pakistan, the national government has signaled what has been interpreted by many to be a fundamental change in the government’s position on negotiations with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and, relatedly, a reconceptualization of Islamabad’s relationship with The Haqqani Network.

On June 15, the Pakistani military launched a massive offensive from the ground and in the air.  Named “Zarb-e-Azb” (“Sharp and Cutting”), the operation is targeting insurgent havens and camps throughout the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Supported by impressive and decimating air power, ground forces moved into North Waziristan, conducting sweeping operations that have left multitudes of insurgents dead and wounded.

The mission has found wide-ranging public support, burgeoned by domestic dissatisfaction with insurgent attacks targeting citizens, government officials, and military service personnel. The operation is larhely aimed at disrupting and destroying elements of TTP,  the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

The aforementioned public support is largely derived from a backlash following the attack on the airport in Karachi on June 8. Militants, disguised as airport employees, conducted a complex effort inside the airport, gaining access to secure areas and exacting a bloody toll on workers and civilians. During the six hour battle, dozens were killed and more were wounded: