'Mother of all problems' Waziristan will be where battle for soul of Pakistan will be fought

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Peshawar, June 16 (ANI): After fighting against the Taliban for months in Swat, Pakistan has now announced the launch of an offensive in Waziristan-touted as the mother of all problems-to catch Pak-Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.

"South Waziristan will be a very hard nut to crack. It is the mother of all problems. It's here that the real battle for the soul of Pakistan will be fought," the New York times quoted Talat Masood, a military analyst and retired Pakistani general, as saying.

Pakistan's enemy no. 1, Mehsud, has thousands of fighters entrenched in mountain terrain that is nearly impossible for conventional armies to navigate, and due to this all past efforts to capture him had failed, the report said.

Pakistan's 22,000 troops are engaged in newly recaptured Swat valley, and more forces are needed to hold newly taken areas. This can be a problem for Pakistan army.

Another challenge in Waziristan is - a succession of peace deals over the years have allowed Mehsud and his supporters to dig themselves securely into some of the most rugged terrain in the country.

The only pressure on Mehsud and his supporters has been applied by missile strikes by remotely piloted American drones, the paper said.

On Monday, Pakistan's Army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, flew over the region and said Mehsud "must be eliminated."

Pakistan military is also trying to exploit a rift within the Taliban itself to further isolate him, experts claimed. One such faction is led by two of Mehsud's former allies: Qari Zainuddin and Turkestan Bhaitani.

"We are against Baitullah Mehsud and we want to finish him," said a spokesman of the group, adding that it received modest financing from the government.

Meanwhile, a Mehsud aide said the Taliban had the advantage of geography. "We are up," he said, chopping the air above his head with the side of his hand, "and they are down."

Even if the military prevails, that will be only the beginning. The area is one of the country's poorest, a condition that has made it ripe for militancy, an expert opined. (ANI)

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