Languages
Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Pakistan advances in Taliban area

Pakistani soldiers carry the coffin of a comrade killed in South Waziristan
The army's offensive has not been without casualties

Pakistan's security forces are continuing their push into Taliban strongholds in the South Waziristan region, military officials say.

They say that 19 militants and six soldiers have died in clashes since Monday night.

The latest fighting was near the town of Jandola in the east. The army says its next target is the key Taliban-held territory around the Sararogha plains.

Meanwhile gunmen in Islamabad have attacked a high-ranking army officer.

Police said that the unnamed brigadier was attacked as he drove through the capital on Tuesday in the second targeted shooting of a senior officer in less than a week.

They said that the officer and his mother escaped unhurt from the assault - believed to have been carried out in retaliation for the army's offensive in South Waziristan.

On Thursday gunmen on a motorcycle fired on an army jeep in another part of Islamabad, killing a brigadier and a soldier in what was believed to be the first killing of an army officer in Islamabad.

Escape routes

After last weekend's capture of the key village of Kotkai, the home of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, sporadic clashes have also been continuing in Tiarza in the south and Shakai in the west.

But journalists are being denied access to the area and cannot verify the reports.

FORCES IN WAZIRISTAN
Pakistani soldiers in Dera Ismail Khan
Pakistan army: Two divisions totalling 28,000 soldiers
Frontier Corp: Paramilitary forces from tribal areas likely to support army
Taliban militants: Estimated between 10,000 and 20,000
Uzbek fighters supporting militants: several hundred

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says that it appears that the army is tightening its grip around Taliban areas in South Waziristan.

The plan to target Sararogha will enable the military to cut off militant supply routes with North Waziristan and also prevent any fighters from entering or leaving, our correspondent says.

If Sararogha falls, all the Taliban's key supply and escape routes will be controlled by the military.

But our correspondent adds that may still not prevent the militants from moving around freely, as they are increasingly breaking up into smaller bands and deploying classic guerrilla warfare techniques.

Surrounded

Local administration officials have told the BBC that the militants are not fighting by holding ground against the military.

Instead they are ceding territory to the security forces and then counter-attacking when the military starts to secure the area.

Although Kotkai is now under the military's control, the forests and mountains around it are still held by the militants who use this territory to bombard the army.

The army launched its South Waziristan offensive last week. It says that troops are fighting militants at "multiple locations".

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled the conflict zone since hostilities broke out, the army says. It says that two medical camps have been set up for displaced families and existing basic health units are being upgraded.

South Waziristan is considered to be the main sanctuary for Islamic militants outside Afghanistan.

Pakistan launched its offensive after a wave of militant attacks, believed to have been orchestrated from South Waziristan, killed more than 150 people in October.

Map showing Pakistani troop movements in Waziristan



Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific