September 26, 2008

KILLING THEM IS EASY, IF ONLY YOU'LL FIGHT THEM...:

Battle with the Taliban: Pakistan could defeat militants in months: Pakistani troops are fighting a mountain battle that their generals claim will break the back of the Taliban insurgency within a matter of months. (Isambard Wilkinson in Tang Khatta , 9/26/08, Daily Telegraph)

The army claims it has killed over 1,000 militants in Bajaur, a place described by commanders as the "centre of gravity of the insurgency".

"The threat from Bajaur radiates in all directions," said Maj Gen Tariq Khan, the commanding officer of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force engaged in the bulk of counter-insurgency operations in the tribal areas.

"If we dismantle this here and destroy its leadership then 65 percent of militancy will be controlled. If they lose this, they lose everything."

Khar and its surroundings are deserted. Soldiers have taken over the area's numerous schools and nearly a third of Bajaur's one million people have fled the fighting.

At Tang Khatta militants took cover in fields of half-harvested maize, caves and dried-up ravines a mile away. [...]

Washington has expressed its approval for the Bajaur operation but analysts have asked why Islamabad allowed parts of the area to be governed by a Taliban parallel government.

Before the operation militants had launched over 60 attacks on paramilitary troops, cut off all main roads, set up training camps and assassinated a dozen tribal leaders.

The battle for Bajaur began only after 2,000-3,000 militants overran a paramilitary post at Loi Sam, which the military has not yet retaken.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2008 5:59 PM
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