Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 16:36 UK

In pictures: Pakistan's most feared militant

Militants surround Baitullah Mehsud

These men are loyal to Pakistan's most feared militant leader, Baitullah Mehsud. He recently gave the BBC and other news organisations rare access to his tribal stronghold in South Waziristan.

Baitullah Mehsud talks to journalists

Mr Mehsud (back to the camera) does not like being photographed. He recently announced a ceasefire, but has warned that it will be jeopardised if the government "continues to be slaves to the US".

Zulfiqar Mehsud

This man, Zulfiqar Mehsud, listens earnestly during a conversation with journalists. He is one the pro-Taleban faction's best-known fighters and is heir apparent to Baitullah Mehsud.

Pro-Taleban militia man in a pick-up

A pro-Taleban militia man in a pick-up asks for directions. The caption at the back of the vehicle reads: 'You will accept the fidayeen' (suicide bombers).

Weapons from Baitullah Mehsud's armoury

These rockets can in theory hit targets up to 20km (12.4 miles) away. So far most of these weapons have not been used since the ceasefire.

Hamza, a 13-year-old militant

Increasingly, the ranks of Mr Mehsud's militia are filled by young recruits. Hamza, a 13-year-old, has been fighting since he was six. He says he's wanted by the authorities for killing security personnel.

Village destroyed by the Pakistani air force

A view of a village destroyed in a bombing raid earlier this year. Fighter jets were used in the battles between the army and the militants. It's a reminder of the uneasy peace between the two sides.

Local Ali Khan, in the light blue clothes, stands beside his recently destroyed  house

Local Ali Khan, in the light blue clothes, stands beside his house destroyed in fighting between the militants and government forces. He says he's lost all his life savings in the skirmishes.

Children clearing rubble from the Spinkai market

Children clearing rubble from the Spinkai market. It was the largest in the area until it was demolished by army bulldozers as collective punishment for local support to the militants.

Pro-Taleban militants of Baitullah Mehsud

Mr Mehsud's fighters span a wide range of ages and are more than happy to pose for photos. All pay homage to "Amir Sahib" (honoured leader) - as Baitullah Mehsud is affectionately called by his men.

A taxi heads through the rain in the picturesque scenery of South Waziristan

The militants operate in some of the most beautiful countryside in South Waziristan, with towering mountains, clear flowing streams and lush green valleys dominating the landscape.




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