27 Apr 2009

Pakistan launches offensive against Taliban

6:53 am on 27 April 2009

A new offensive against the Taliban has been launched in northwest Pakistan.

An accoprd in February which put three million people under sharia law was supposed to end an insurgency in the Swat area but there have further encroachments by the Taliban into the neighbouring district of Buner.

Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik told private television channel Geo on Sunday that: "Enough is enough. We have decided to flush them out."

The military said paramilitary frontier troops launched an operation against the Taliban in Lower Dir, one of the districts of Malakand covered by the sharia law deal, after a soldier was killed in an ambush.

Pakistani security forces have been heavily criticised for allowing the Taliban to act with impunity while either incapable or unwilling to intervene.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week warned that Pakistan was "basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists".