[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
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.