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Pakistan Expected to Launch Anti-Taliban Offensive

The latest Taliban rebellion in the northern tribal areas of Swat in Pakistan included the killing of three intelligence officers, attacking a security post and kidnapping some 30 police and paramilitary forces, all within the last couple of days. A fresh major offensive by the federal security forces is expected to be launched soon in response, according to the Pakistani daily The Nation.
 
The recent events occurred as the local Taliban leader Maulvi Fazlullah, who is a close aide of the most influential Taliban commander in Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud, is engaged in peace talks with the government of the Northwestern Frontier Province. However, at a recent news conference after months in hiding, Fazullah blamed the recent wave of violence on the security forces and said negotiations with the local government were futile since it has no power and authority to make key decisions on the terrorism front.
 
The central government wants to resolve the issue of militancy through dialogue but if the other party is not ready to hold talks and would rather resort to violence, then it will be dealt with sternly, an anonymous source told The Nation. However, he added that the government is still willing to allow the peace agreements to work in the tribal belt.
 
The tribal regions of northern Pakistan have been accused of being a safe haven for the Taliban and Al-Qa’ida and the launching pad for attacks on both United States and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.