Pakistan signals new asssault against Taliban

Pakistan's army has ended its controversial offensive in South Waziristan and is shifting focus to another tribal area despite civilian causualties, PM said.

Pakistan signals new asssault against Taliban

Pakistan's army has ended its offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan and is shifting focus to another tribal area despite civilian causualties, the prime minister said on Saturday.

In a speech Friday at the New York inaugural benefit of the newly created American Pakistan Foundation, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan to keep fighting against Taliban.

The U.S. gave over 5 billion USD in financial assistance to Pakistan after military offensive on Taliban.

The operation in South Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan, was the army's biggest in years involving 30,000 troops. Military officials were not available to say if it had achieved its goals.

"The operation has finished in South Waziristan. Now there is talk of Orakzai," Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore.

Security officials say many of the fighters are believed to have "fled South Wazirstan to Orakzai", North Waziristan and the Kurram tribal areas.

Intelligence officials say paramilitary forces have been carrying out crackdowns on Orakzai for several weeks. War planes also often attack.

Government forces now control much of the territory held by forces loyal to Mehsud but they still face pockets of resistance, officials said.

U.S. pressure

US pressure on Pakistan's government, as well as secretive US military attacks there are controversial among Pakistanis.

Clinton sid that U.S. would continue to "encourage" the Pakistani government to take "affirmative steps" toward the goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating Taliban despite score of civilians killed and hundreds were fled during two previous offensives.

Meanwhile, American drone aircraft attacks on Pakistany territory, have created intense anti-American sentiments in Pakistan.

Pakistan officially objects to the U.S. strikes. It says they violate its sovereignty and stoke public anger against U.S..

Pakistani officials fear U.S. plans to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan will push fighter over the border and create new pressures for the Islamabad government.

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.

Agencies
Last Mod: 12 Aralık 2009, 18:54
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