The Pakistani army says it has killed 24 militants for the loss of two soldiers in the latest fighting in South Waziristan.
In many places the army is entering virtually uncharted territory, as the Pashtun tribes living there have fiercely resisted outside interference for centuries. It is the heartland of the Pakistani Taliban or Tehrik-e-Taliban, dominated by the Mehsud tribe. The area’s other main tribe is the Wazirs and the government has denied it has struck a deal with them to keep out of the fighting. About a fifth of the half a million people in South Waziristan have fled the fighting: One refugee said: “I started walking four days ago. On the way I saw sick people, old people, even people who were injured. They have no transport. People are in great difficulty and the government is doing nothing for them.” Taliban commandos are still able to operate elsewhere. In their latest attack in Islamabad, gunmen shot dead a brigadier and his driver, also injuring a bodyguard.