Pakistan Routs Insurgents in Militant Haven

Army says other regions will be free of al-Qaeda, Taliban by year's end
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2009 5:47 PM CST
A Pakistani official hugs a tribe man during a ceremony in the Bajur tribal region, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009. Troops have defeated militants after a grinding six-month offensive.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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(Newser) – Pakistani forces have scored a victory against Islamic militants by ousting them from a stronghold on the Afghan border, Reuters reports. Pakistan plans to clear at least four of seven other regions of militants by the end of the year. “They have lost their cohesion here,” one general declared. “The resistance has collapsed.” A Pakistani offensive launched last September has killed more than 1,500 militants in Bajaur, a key route for infiltrating Afghanistan.

But in other areas, the government is striking peace deals with militants, stoking Western fears of an intensified insurgency. “There is no single thread that runs across” all of the regions, the general explained, “so one has to deal according to what exactly the situation warrants.”
(Read more Pakistan stories.)