The Pakistani military says it is tightening its grip on Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in South Waziristan. But five days into the offensive, the militants are claiming their own successes.
On Tuesday they struck back to retake the birthplace of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. The small town of Kotkai had been captured by Pakistani troops the previous day. One civilian described how the bombardment continued day after day in the affected region. People were in great trouble, he said, and all roads were blocked. No-one could get in or come out. Some 150,000 people are estimated to have left their homes, many encouraged to do so before the offensive began. At refugee camps, the process has begun to register those with nowhere else to go. Each family is to be given sixty US dollars a month, but many say it is not enough. Pakistan’s push against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants in South Waziristan is designed to destroy the source of attacks in the country. The government believes Tuesday’s suicide bombs in Islamabad were the direct result of the military offensive. The blasts at the International Islamic University killed six people including the bombers and wounded at least twenty.