Anti-Taliban operation launched

2009-10-17 22:50
Peshawar - Pakistani troops backed by fighter jets launched a major operation against the Taliban in South Waziristan on Saturday, sparking deadly clashes with heavily armed rebels, officials said.

The mountain district is part of a tribal belt on the Afghan border that US officials call the most dangerous place in the world and is home to thousands of Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked fighters branded a major threat to the West.

Air strikes and heavy artillery pounded Taliban bases as troops advanced north, west and east after months spent planning an assault that is expected to pose a stern test for the military on terrain ideally suited to guerrillas.

"The army has launched an operation after receiving orders from the government. The operation was launched early in the morning. Both air and ground troops are taking part," said Major General Athar Abbas.

Pakistan vowed to root out militants it branded a threat to the country's sovereignty after a spike in a two-year Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked campaign of attacks that has made the country a frontline in the US-led war on terror.

Around 90 000 civilians have fled South Waziristan, normally home to 600 000 people, since August and officials said the number could more than double.

"More people are coming out," said Colonel Waseem Shahid, from an army support group. "We estimate that around 100 000 more people can be displaced, say a total of around 150 000 to 200 000 people can be displaced."

Long-distance artillery pounded rebel positions as the vanguard of troops engaged in heavy clashes in mountainous forest at Sharwangi and Spinkai Raghzai, a local administration official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Five soldiers were killed during clashes, an official said. Troops thrust north towards Makeen, east towards Kotkai and Spinkai Raghzai, and west towards Kunigaram, Saam and Baddar, officials said.

They met heavy resistance at Sharwangi but captured the village of Spinkai Raghzai, erecting a checkpoint three kilometres from Kotkai, the home town of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, a senior official said.

Pakistan has mounted numerous offensives against militants in its northwest since 2002, meeting with limited success and costing the lives of 2 000 troops.

"The operation will continue until the objectives are achieved. The army has blocked all entry and exit points of Waziristan," Abbas was quoted as saying by television channels that outlined an operation of six to eight weeks.

Military officials said the offensive would be swift, with the goal of finishing before the onset of harsh winter snows.
Read more on:    pakistan  |  taliban
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.