Monday, February 23, 2004

"Hammer and anvil"

Pakistan is "preparing for a new operation along the Afghan border against al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects."

Pakistani forces are preparing for a new operation along the Afghan border against al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects.

Extra troops have been deployed "to plug the entry of undesired elements" the information minister says.

[...]

Pakistani intelligence officials say Bin Laden is not the immediate target of the current operation in the semi-autonomous South Waziristan region of North West Frontier Province.

But they hope to glean clues leading to his ultimate capture.

Troops have stepped up patrols in the area, and heavy guns and sandbagged bunkers are in place on key roads in and around the town of Wana, reports say.

"No offensive has been launched so far," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid told the AFP news agency on Monday.

Local tribesmen have been given more time to hand over suspected sympathisers accused of harbouring militants.

Last week, the commander of US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan said an operation was being launched on both sides of the border.

Lieutenant General David Barno referred to a two-pronged "hammer and anvil approach".


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