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Pakistan jets blast Taliban bases

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Pakistan jets blast Taliban bases

Post  TP Princess on Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:18 pm

PAKISTAN: Pakistani jets pounded Taliban sanctuaries after a dramatic hostage siege at the army headquarters, as the military geared up Monday for a full ground assault to take on the increasingly brazen rebels.

The air strikes late Sunday and early Monday on Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan and Bajaur districts left at least 31 suspected militants dead, officials said, although there was no independent verification of the toll.

The latest of a months-long series of air raids designed to soften up the rebels came after suspected Taliban-linked gunmen staged an audacious daytime attack on the military command centre near Islamabad on Saturday. In total, eight militants, eight soldiers and three hostages were killed in the crisis that unfolded at the heart of the military establishment in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, which ended with a commando raid Sunday. The army said it was now awaiting orders to stage a full-scale offensive on the Pakistani Taliban seat of power in South Waziristan, a rugged mountainous region bordering Afghanistan which lies outside direct government control. “The army is fully prepared to launch an operation against Tehreek-e-Taliban,” said a military spokesman, referring to the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group TTP.

“We are waiting for government orders... The government has decided in principle to launch an operation against Taliban in Waziristan.”

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that recent attacks — including a car bomb Friday that killed 52 people in the northwestern city of Peshawar — may hasten the assault on the area.

“An operation against the Taliban in Waziristan is a must,” Syed Shahab Ali Shah, the top administrative official of South Waziristan, told AFP.

“According to my information the government has decided to launch an operation against Waziristan’s Taliban, but I do not know about the date.”

Under intense US pressure to take on the militants, the Pakistani army claimed success in an offensive against the Taliban earlier this year in the one-time tourism paradise of Swat valley.

Ref - 13th October 2009 Daily NEWS
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