[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Pakistan considers quick anti-Taliban assault

Defence minister tells Reuters full-scale military operation against Taliban could be launched as early as this month.

Last updated: 07 Mar 2014 10:29
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Government says it would not hesitate to bomb hideouts if the Pakistani Taliban ignore the recent ceasefire [AP]

Pakistan could launch a full-scale military operation against Pakistani Taliban insurgents in tribal areas near the Afghan border as early as this month, the defence minister said, warning the rebels against violating a ceasefire.

Khawaja Asif told the Reuters news agency in an interview on Thursday that the government would not hesitate to bomb hideouts or send forces into the tribal areas if the Pakistani Taliban did not abide by the ceasefire announced last weekend.

"It will not take months now. We'll have to march in the month of March," Asif said, describing the government's response if insurgents persisted in their attacks despite the ceasefire.

"If there is a ceasefire, it has to be complete. Without that, we just can't afford to have talks with the Taliban."

Pakistan fears that the end of the US combat mission in neighbouring Afghanistan this year could energise a resilient insurgency straddling their shared frontier.

"If in the post-withdrawal period, the Afghan Taliban become stronger and carve out an area of influence in the south and east of Afghanistan, which is next to our border - that's a scenario we should even avoid thinking of," Asif said.

192

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.