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Pakistan anti-Taliban offensive in S Waziristan 'over'

Pakistani army forces in South Waziristan, 26 Nov 2009
Pakistan's military began its offensive in South Waziristan in mid-October

Pakistan's prime minister has said its military has completed an offensive against the Taliban in the tribal region of South Waziristan.

Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters in Lahore the operation might now move north to the Orakzai region, where many militants are thought to have fled.

The Pakistani army has not yet commented on Mr Gilani's remarks.

However, correspondents say Mr Gilani's words do not mean the army is pulling out of South Waziristan.

Military sources have told the BBC that the army is still facing pockets of resistance there.

The Pakistani military launched its offensive in South Waziristan, in the tribal area bordering Afghanistan, in mid-October.

Air strikes

"The operation in South Waziristan is over. Now there are talks about Orakzai," Mr Gilani told reporters in televised remarks on Saturday.

The BBC's Orla Guerin in Islamabad says the prime minister did not elaborate on the scale of any possible offensive in Orakzai, also in the lawless tribal belt.

The military operation in South Waziristan was the biggest in years, our correspondent says, with 30,000 troops sent into battle.

The army has managed to drive many militants from their main bases but their leaders have not been arrested and are thought to have escaped into other areas.

Hundreds of people have been killed in revenge attacks around Pakistan, she adds.

A number of air strikes have targeted militant targets in Orakzai in recent weeks.

The United Nations says more than 40,000 civilians have left their homes in Orakzai and are in need of humanitarian assistance.



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