Saturday, June 27, 2009

Waziristan Offensive ‘Key’ for Pakistan

Pakistani forces bombarded suspected hideouts of the Tehreek-e Taliban
Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan today, killing at
least 20 militants and wounding 15 others. The militants retaliated by
ambushing an army convoy in North Waziristan, killing three.

The military's offensive into the tribal region is aimed at asserting
formal government control over tribes with a long history of
independence used to an indifferent government quietly ruling them
from afar. It also aims at knocking out Baitullah, who has taken a
large share of the Mehsud tribe into direct opposition to the
government's rule.

Top aides to President Barack Obama say that the battle in Waziristan
is going to be key as the Pakistani government tries to establish some
measure of credibility after years of humiliating defeats against the
militants. The Pakistani government sees it as a matter of survival.

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