Once the headquarters of the Pakistani Taliban and Haqqani network, Waziristan–a remote tribal area situated between Pakistan and Afghanistan –is the focus of new development efforts by the Pakistani military.
The hope is that economic development, including schools, homes, and a 370-mile road funded largely by USAID, will link the long-struggling region to the more prosperous parts of Pakistan and give residents an alternative to the benefits of aligning themselves with criminal groups.
NBC correspondent and Pakistan Bureau Chief Amna Nawaz and her team were recently granted exclusive access to North Waziristan by the Pakistani military, becoming the first foreign team of journalists to report from the area. Together with South Waziristan, from which NBC News also reported, the region is hit by the most U.S. drone strikes worldwide.
“From what we’ve seen, it seems that [the Pakistani military is] very serious” about getting control of Waziristan, Nawaz told guest host Chuck Todd on Andrea Mitchell Reports Monday. As Nawaz reported across NBC platforms and in an NBCNews.com article, the area’s residents were subjected to harsh treatment under the Taliban.
“[Military officials] were keen to show the progress they’d made in South Waziristan and they were absolutely honest about the work that they still have to do in North Waziristan. I mean, look, they have made progress. There’s still a lot of work to be done, they’ll be the first to tell you that,” Nawaz told Chuck Todd.
“In some ways, a lot of criticism that they come under is because they’re–it’s almost like they’re fighting two different wars,” Nawaz said. “The U.S. is on one timeline on one side of the border; Pakistan’s not on the same timeline, and they have a different approach because it’s within their own borders that they’re fighting.”