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 Pakistan launches all-out assault on Taliban with an extra 30,000 troops

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PostSubject: Pakistan launches all-out assault on Taliban with an extra 30,000 troops   Sun Oct 18, 2009 11:21 am

Pakistan launches all-out assault on Taliban with an extra 30,000 troops
A long-anticipated ground offensive begins against al-Qaida and Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border



Pakistan threw more than 30,000 soldiers into a long-anticipated ground offensive against al-Qaida and Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border yesterday, following two weeks in which militants have killed more than 175 people across the country. Early reports suggested the advancing troops were meeting fierce resistance from Taliban fighters.

The United States has been pushing the government to carry out the assault in South Waziristan, which it must now attempt to complete before the onset of winter snows in early December.

Pakistan has fought three unsuccessful campaigns since 2001 in the region, which is the heartland of Pakistani insurgents fighting the US-backed government. The area is also a major base for foreign militants planning attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan and on targets in the west. Pakistani sources claim there are up to 1,500 foreign fighters and 10,000 local Taliban fighters in the region.

After months of aerial bombing, Pakistan's cabinet yesterday ordered troops into the region from several directions, heading to the insurgent bases of Ladha and Makeen, among other targets.

At least 11 suspected insurgents were killed, while a bomb hit a security convoy, killing one soldier and wounding three others, intelligence officials said.
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