Pak Army still stuck in Taliban quagmire two years following offensive

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New York, July 5 (ANI): It has been nearly two years since the Pakistan Army announced an all out offensive against the Taliban in the restive tribal regions, but it is yet to assume complete command over the region by flushing out the militants for good.

The Pakistan Army claimed success in certain parts of the region like the Swat valley and Malakand, however, in other parts of the rugged tribal region, and especially in North Waziristan, the Taliban still holds absolute sway over large tracts of land.

It had declared victory on several important fronts, including in South Waziristan and the Swat Valley, but an absolute success in still elusive with the troops been forced to reopen fronts after militants who have sneaked back into the region.

"In an offensive nearly two years old, the Pakistani Army has been fighting Taliban militants in the nation's tribal areas and beyond, and like the United States across the border in Afghanistan, it is finding counterinsurgency warfare tougher, and more costly, than anticipated," The New York Times reports.

Officials pointed out that militants know the region far better than the troops, and the extremists utilise their local know-how to inflict maximum damage against the security forces.

"The terrorists have been raised here; they can find their way around blind," said Major Shahzad Saleem.

The Pakistan Army, which has lost more than 2,000 troops the last two years fighting against the Taliban, now mainly relies on F-16s and Cobra helicopter gunships, which have been provided by the United States, to pound militant hideouts in the rough terrains.

On the other hand, the United States has been constantly pressing the Pakistani military to reign in the Al-Qaeda allied Haqqani group in region, however, the army maintains that it is overstretched to clamp down on the extremists in North Waziristan.

American officials agree that the Pakistan Army is 'overstretched', but they are also deep suspicions that both Pakistan's military and intelligence service utilise the Haqqani groups to exert influence in Afghanistan, and keep India at bay, the paper said. (ANI)

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