Pakistan launches major offensive in S. Waziristan after US aid / PHOTO

Pakistan launches major offensive in S. Waziristan after US aid

Pakistan launches major offensive in S. Waziristan after US aid / PHOTO


Pakistan's army began on Saturday a ground operation in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border with near 30.000 soldiers after U.S. ramped up a huge amount of military aid, a senior government official said.

Pakistan opposition angered the aid bill over U.S. move to tie an important part of funds to offensive against Taliban and some fund is seen by critics as violating sovereignty.

"The ground operation has begun," Tariq Hayat Khan, secretary of Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun tribal regions, told Reuters by telephone. He gave no details and military spokesmen were unavailable for comment.



The army says about 28,000 soldiers are in place to take on an estimated 10,000 hard-core Taliban. About 500 commandos arrived in the region on Friday, security officials said.

US military aid

Yesterday, U.S. announced to ramp delivery of military equipment long to Pakistan for offensives in the country against Taliban despite fled thousands of civilians.

The army has stepped up its air and artillery attacks in recent days to soften up the militants' defences while civilians have been fleeing.

More than 80,000 civilians had fled from South Waziristan in anticipation of the government offensive and the U.N. refugee agency said more people left this week.

Earlier, a government official said authorities had imposed a curfew along roads in South Waziristan to protect forces moving towards militant strongholds.

Attacks in retaliation for offensive

An intelligence official said soldiers, tanks and artillery were being taken towards tribal areas. Telephone services had apparently been suspended to the region.



Roadside bombs went off near military convoys in both South and North Waziristan regions, killing three soldiers and wounding five, another intelligence official said.

Pakistani army launched late April a massive offensive in Swat Valley, breaking the deal between Taliban and government over a Sharia administration.



Taliban gained the right to form provincial administration, implementing Shar'ia laws in Swat districts under the deal. But Taliban fighters entered neighbouring districts, including one just 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad.

Taliban says the offensive was launched by government to please U.S. who has pressured to break it.

Taliban says Pakistani government had no respect for any pact and They kept violating every agreement and if this goes on.

Billions

Pakistan grabed over 5 billion USD in financial assistance after military offensive on Taliban.

In the recent move of U.S., President Barack Obama signed on Wednesday a $7.5 billion aid bill for Pakistan over the next five years.



Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was in Washington this week when Democratic Senator John Kerry, an author of the bill, issued a statement to try to ease tensions with angered opposition, saying that the legislation did not seek to impinge on Pakistan's sovereignty or "micromanage any aspect of Pakistan's military or civilian operations".

Qureshi told parliament on Friday the country had not compromised its sovereignty and he later met army chief Kayani.

Reuters

Last Mod: 17 Ekim 2009, 15:04
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