Pakistani army advances further into Taliban strongholds

20:17, November 16, 2009      

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Pakistan's security forces advanced further into the Taliban strongholds of South Waziristan tribal agency during the last 24 hours and are consolidating their positions on all three axes, the army said Monday in a daily press release.

As the operation steadily progressed towards the Taliban base in the northwest tribal area bordering Afghanistan, the army said that the security forces have secured important heights south and west of village Janata, cleared road Ladha to Takrai Sar and cleared village Spina Mela near Razmak.

Training center near Tikarai Sar, a complex of basement and a tunnel at village Sultano were found and destroyed during the operation coded as Rah-e-Nijat, or path of salvation, it said.

Meanwhile in the ending operation in Swat and Malakand, four militants have been killed and four suspects arrested in different areas, according to the statement.

On relief activities, so far 11,794 cash cards have been distributed amongst the displaced families of Waziristan, the army said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters in the city of Multan on Sunday that the militants are killing civilians in reaction to the operation. He said the operation is successful and is likely to be ended before timings as the militants have vacated most parts of Waziristan.

Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said that the militants have retreated from Waziristan under a strategy and that Taliban will launch guerilla war after the soldiers enter the region.

According to the army statistics, Pakistani security forces have killed more than 500 militants since they launched the ground assault on Oct. 17 in the South Waziristan, advancing towards the main base of Taliban militants in Pakistan. The army said that about 30,000 soldiers are in place to take on an estimated 10,000 hard-core Taliban militants in the lawless area.

The military said that the operation was launched in six towns of the area in three directions and is likely to continue for six to eight weeks, but no final deadline can be given.

Source: Xinhua
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