RealNews

Pakistani Offensive Aims to Drive Out Taliban and Al Qaeda

Pakistan is preparing for a major military offensive against Taliban and Al Qaeda forces along its border with Afghanistan in the next several weeks, Pakistani government officials said this weekend. The operation may be the first act of a violent, and potentially pivotal, spring season along the mountainous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to Western diplomats, Pakistani military experts and American military officials. American military officials said they expected Taliban and Qaeda fighters to try to disrupt national elections scheduled for June in Afghanistan. American and Pakistani officials said they would step up their efforts to gain control of the rugged border region, the area where they believe the fugitive Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, is hiding. Pakistani officials denied recent news reports that the whereabouts of Mr. bin Laden and his deputy, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, had been narrowed down to an area of several dozen square miles. Instead, they said the planned offensive was part of a calculated, step-by-step campaign to drive Qaeda members over the border to where American forces would be waiting for them. Full Story

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