Thousands of Pakistani Army soldiers have begun to leave Swat Valley and return the security to the hands of the law-enforcement agencies operating in the Area which was once a Taliban stronghold.

Officials stated that this soldier withdrawal is influenced by the military’s counter-insurgency strategy to clear, hold and transfer.

A part of the strategy is the joint police and military activities that have been conducted for capacity building and eventually leading to the entire handing over of the control to the law enforcement agencies operating in the region.

However, the complete transfer of soldiers and control may take up to one or two years. According to officials the first part of the strategy is finished and the second phase will envision the military as a monitoring agency on the two districts that were plagued by the militancy.

The third phase will see military units that were left behind only to serve as a deterrent force to repel and eventual threats. These units will rely on intelligence work to track down and hunt militants.

The joint operation of the police and army is still continuing in some parts, but overall the police has been able to send independent patrols throughout the entire Makaland region.

According to the words of the officials, the police will take over the security in Buner district by the mid part of next month. In the mean time the army will hand over the control over the Shangla district to civil law enforcement agencies by April.

Officials stated that they are on the right course to taking over full security responsibility in the region. Currently 10,000 policemen are positioned in the region and 2,500 more are being trained at the moment. It is difficult to predict the final outcome of the operation, but all of the high-ranked officials are confident enough to take full security responsibility.

Future plans include the setting up of new posts and the strengthening of the existing ones. Three military cantonments are going to be constructed in the area. A security official said that everything will be in the hands of the civil law enforcement agencies as they will have the leading role.


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