Some 100000 people have fled the South Waziristan region of Pakistan as the army continues its offensive against Taliban militants in the region.
The United Nations say civilians are moving out at a rate of some 500 a day as the fighting intensifies. The Pakistan military has reported the deaths of four soldiers into separate engagements with Taliban fighters, Taliban casualties are unknown. The offensive is focussed on tribal regions that have become a base for islamic militants displaced by US led operations in Afghanistan. Analyst Zahid Hussain said the success or failure of the new operation was likely to be a defining moment in the Pakistani government’s power struggle with the Taliban. “This is a decisive action and it could go on for about six to eight weeks,” he said. “The difference between this operation and the previous operation which was undertaken in 2004 and then later, 2008 in South Waziristan is that this time the army is determined to keep the control of that area.” The Pakistani governments resolve to defeat the tabilan is said to have been strengthened by a string of terror attacks in the last two weeks in which more than 150 people have been killed. On Wednesday the United States agreed to a 7.5 billion dollair aid programme to Pakistan.