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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

As the South Waziristan battle Commences, 90,000 Flee

Reports are coming out of Pakistan that 90,000 civilians have fled the region in anticipation of a bloody winter battle between the army and militants. The BBC has a background piece with maps.

If the military goes in with full force, the militants are likely to disperse rather than attempt to hold territory, analysts say.
They will almost certainly engage in guerrilla warfare. With their knowledge of the terrain they are likely to launch ambushes as has been the case in previous years.
But a lot depends on military tactics. Previously, the military has not had a clear strategy when venturing into Waziristan.
This time round - after the success in Swat - troop morale is likely to be high.
For the army's part it would have to hold the roads and the main towns. Currently the Mehsud-dominated centres of Ladha, Makeen and Sararogha are virtual no-go areas.
A primary military target would be to take control of the heights and put up outposts. They will also go after mid- and high-ranking Taliban commanders.

In 2004 the Pakistani army suffered heavily at the hands of Wazir-affiliated militants.
There is a possibility that a military offensive against the Mehsud group in South Waziristan could draw in to the conflict militant groups based in the Wazir tribal areas of South and North Waziristan.
These groups are currently part of an al-Qaeda-affiliated network who have so far concentrated on fighting inside Afghanistan. They have "peace agreements" with the Pakistani army.

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