More than a week has passed since the aerial bombing which killed sixty extremists in North Waziristan. Recent events hint of a resumption of military operation, ending the short-lived peace in the area. Security personnel and Taliban extremists are now being killed on a daily basis. However, amid the fighting, the fate of the local residents is dubious. The situation escalated too quickly to allow civilian population to take any safety measures. While the aerial strikes continue, security forces have cordoned-off the area ceasing any movement to or from the area. A full-fledged curfew is also in place. While a number of civilians are still trapped in the area, those who managed to escape are largely displaced in the adjoining districts.

Any military operation like this is bound to have a great degree of collateral damage but strangely, the political leadership and the civil society has shied away from questioning the rationale behind this operation. Moreover, the social media population has rather been antagonist towards those who dare to highlight the potential collateral damage. At the moment, the Taliban are suffering from serious infighting. While a military operation can potentially unite the Taliban against their common enemy, negotiations can prove useful to win one group to our side. Nobody, in his right mind, can stand the existence of Taliban or any other form of violent extremism. But no one can rightfully condone the loss civilian lives either. If military action is the only option left, it is necessary that the whole nation is behind the army to wipe the Taliban out once and for all.

MUHAMMAD MUTAHIR ALI,

Lahore, May 30.