Pakistan army 'storms Taliban town'

Army announces strategic win but fighters say they are drawing troops into "a trap".

    Security was stepped up in the city of Rawalpindi following a blast there on Monday [AFP]
     

    "We are prepared for a long war," Azam Tariq, a spokesman, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

    "The areas we are withdrawing from, and the ones the army is claiming to have won, are being vacated by us as part of a strategy. The strategy is to let the army get in a trap, and then fight a long war."

    Difficult terrain

    Tariq also denied army claims that hundreds of fighters have been killed in the military's campaign.

    In depth

     

    Interview: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi

     

    Video: Security crisis in Pakistan

      Video: Double blasts strike Pakistan
      Profile: Pakistan Taliban
      Witness: Pakistan in crisis
      Riz Khan: The battle for the soul of Pakistan
      Video: Indian Muslims denounce terrorism

    He said that only 11 had died so far.

    Earlier, the army said that 21 fighters and a soldier had been killed during the previous 24 hours in South Waziristan.

    There is no independent verification of the casualties as reporters are not allowed into the war zone.

    Pakistan has effectively sealed off the tribal areas, semi-autonomous regions of the country where the central government in Islamabad has only minimal authority.

    The army launched its offensive on Pakistani Taliban bases in South Waziristan on October 17.

    The region's rugged, mountainous landscape is said to have become a global centre for the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

    US blamed

    As the military press forward with their campaign, the fighters have hit back with a series of bomb attacks across Pakistan.

    At least 35 people were killed in a blast in the city of Rawalpindi on Monday as the government announced a reward for the capture, dead or alive, of several Taliban leaders.

    An opinion poll released on Tuesday showed a majority of Pakistanis supported the offensive in South Waziristan, although more blamed the US for the violence in their country than blamed the Taliban.

    The Pakistani offensive is being closely watched by the US and other powers embroiled in the conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Venezuela in default: What next?

    Venezuela in default: What next?

    As the oil-rich country fails to pay its debt, we examine what happens next and what it means for its people.

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The number of Muslims in South Korea is estimated to be around 100,000, including foreigners.

    What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move?

    What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move?

    There are reports Saudi Arabia is demanding money from the senior officials it recently arrested.