Pakistan claims to have killed at least 60 Taliban fighters on the second day of its assault on South Waziristan. The Taliban however said they had repelled repeated attacks, while suffering only one death. Independent verification is impossible as journalists are banned. But it’s known foreign fighters have strengthened the Taliban ranks.
“There are foreign militants in the area, predominantly Uzbeks,” said military spokesman Athaar Abbas. “They are hard-core fighters and trainers.”
Pakistani soldiers moved in to the mountainous region on the border with Afghanistan after months of bombing and shelling to weaken Taliban defences. However, military sources admit they face a long drawn-out battle to impose state control over the rebellious area.
Pakistan is under pressure from America to crush growing Islamic militancy as President Obama considers boosting US troop levels in Afghanistan. Washington is already increasing military aid to Pakistan to help fight the Taliban.