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Bannu operation: How did one TTP man expose the security of CTD in Pakistan?

ISLAMABAD: For three consecutive days, the Bannu’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) incident remained in the limelight throughout the world.

The TTP’s hostage of the CTD center along with the personnel of the CTD created a stir to such an extent that a spokesperson for the United States Ned Price held a special media briefing in Washington and offered the US support to Pakistan to overcome TTP’s attacks.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres also urged the Taliban on Dec 20 to stop attacks on Pakistan.

If you look at the details of the incident, you will be shocked to know that just one militant of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who was in the custody of the CTD officials and detained at the center, created so much trouble for Pakistan, exposing many loopholes in the security apparatus, especially the CTD.

According to the newly-appointed director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major-General Ahmed Sharif, a TTP terrorist, detained at the CTD center, snatched a weapon from a constable, killed him (cop) on the spot, injured another one and then he liberated his TTP fellows from lock-ups of the center.

After getting out of their cells, the TTP militants picked up/seized weapons from the CTD center, took hostage the entire CTD staff present there at that time, and took full control of the center.

After doing this, the TTP men, who were detained in the center for interrogation, demanded of the government to give them safe passage to Afghanistan.

However, when the administration and the government turned down the TTP men’s demand of giving them safe passage to Afghanistan, they (TTP militants), then sought safe passage to Waziristan and that demand too was rejected.

It is because the security officials have decided by that time to confront the TTP men holed up in the CTD center.

Consequently, 25 terrorists were killed in face-to-face gun-battle on Tuesday while three commandos of the Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom while some other SSG commandos and others who participated in the Bannu operation sustained injuries.

On Tuesday, the security forces killed all the TTP terrorists holed up in the CTD center, rescued the hostages safely, and got cleared the center.

The incident, nonetheless, has left many questions on our national security apparatus. Being a security writer/analyst, I have observed the following drawbacks in the CTD’s security apparatus.

How just one TTP man snatched a weapon from the constable, killed him, injured another, and released all the detained militants.

Where was the monitoring system of the CTD center?

Why was it so easy for just one TTP militant to snatch a weapon and liberate all the detained militants, who took control of the center?

How did the militants take hostage the entire CTD staff present at the center?

Why did the CTD officials not monitor the movements of the TTP? The incident exposes the monitoring/surveillance system of the CTD _ if it was in place.

Why was it so easy for the TTP detainees to take control of the CTD center along with the security officials?

How it was an easy task for the militants to get weapons from the CTD’s detention center and use the weapons against the security officials?

The whole incident raises doubts about the monitoring/surveillance and security of staff and detained TTP militants at the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) center in Bannu’s cantonment area. The incident not only exposed many security loopholes but also defamed Pakistan internationally.

However, it was the bravery and sacrifices of our SSG commandos who not only killed the hardcore terrorists but cleared the center. We have lost three SSG _ highly trained, professional, and patriotic soldiers just because of the intolerable negligence of the CTD officials and other key stakeholders in this security apparatus.

The Bannu operation also indicated that our security officials, especially have not learned anything from past mistakes. Taking it easy on TTP men who strongly believe in their ideology to “kill or to be killed” has ultimately led to the martyrdom of commandoes and injuries to some others.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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