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Pak's 'mother of all battles' might turn futile

October 18, 2009 14:54 IST
Though Pakistan has announced an all out offensive, a 'mother of all battles' against the Taliban in South Waziristan, local residents see the offensive as futile as they believe many Taliban have slipped away into other neighboring areas.

There were reports of Taliban compounds being bombed by helicopter gunships as troops moved out in three columns from Razmak to the north, Jandola to the east and Shakai in the west.

But people in the region believe the operation has come a bit late. "Many Taliban fighters, including Uzbek militants, Arabs and Mehsud tribesmen have slipped away into the neighbouring Orakzai agency to dodge the army onslaught and live to fight another day," The Telegraph quoted local residents, as saying.

They said real fighting is yet to commence, as most of the Taliban have retreated into mountains surrounding Makeen and Ladha, and are waiting for the right opportunity to make their moves.

Countries, which consider Islamabad as an important ally in the 'war on terror', have welcomed the Pakistan army's latest offensive, but they also know it may not necessarily help their struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistani forces have already made it clear that they would target Taliban fighters from the Mehsud tribe, which have allied themselves with the Al Qaeda in launching audacious attacks on country's military institutions, which means that operation will not target the infamous 'Haqqani network,' which has targeted North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan on numerous occasion in the recent past.

Pakistan's reluctance to target anti-NATO Taliban factions has worried both Britain and the United States, but refusal to counter certain extremist groups has neither impressed the people who against western involvement in the region, the newspaper further said.

"The Pakistan army is supporting the Americans, so they (the jihadists) consider the Pakistan army to be like American and Nato forces," said an Inter Services Intelligence officer Khalid Khawaja.

Khawaja, who describes the Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden as his 'friend,' accused the US of trying to destroy Pakistan and declare it a failed state.

"America is trying to destroy Pakistan as a state. You (Pakistan) have to turn your back on America and they (America) have to get out of Afghanistan. Otherwise, this will never end," he said.

Source: ANI