Ten years ago, in November 2006, Al Jazeera English was launched. To mark that anniversary, we’ve created REWIND, which updates some of the channel’s most memorable and award-winning documentaries of the past decade. We find out what happened to some of the characters in those films and ask how the stories have developed in the years since our cameras left.
In 2009, Al Jazeera’s Rageh Omaar travelled to the frontline of the Pakistani Army’s campaign against the insurgents in the Bajaur Agency, codenamed Operation Sherdil (or Lionheart). This is where al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, and their foreign fighters were thought to be based.
The army believed that defeating the insurgents here would be crucial to success in the rest of the country because Bajaur borders Kunha in Afghanistan, a key point of entry for Taliban crossing into Pakistan from Afghanistan.
During his investigation Rageh Omaar learned that Pakistan’s efforts to crush the insurgents in the tribal areas were compromised by US cross-border drone strikes, violating Pakistan’s fragile sovereignty. In the three months before Al Jazeera’s crew arrived, 20 US drone strikes had killed more than 100 people.
REWIND spoke to Al Jazeera’s correspondent Kamal Hyder about the situation today in Pakistan.
“Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Pakistan. We’ve been covering the conflict for many years, but there is a marked improvement after the final push by the military to dislocate various groups who were using North Waziristan as their base … But serious challenges still remain despite an improvement of the security situation in Pakistan.”