20 Oct 2009

Troops push further into South Waziristan

9:05 pm on 20 October 2009

The Pakistani army says it has pushed deeper into South Waziristan as it battles to wrestle control of the region from the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

On the offensive's third day, the army said it had captured important strategic heights in the mountains.

Nine soldiers and 78 militants have now been killed and up to 100,000 civilians have fled the conflict zone, the army says.

The Taliban, who claim not to have lost a single fighter, say they have killed many more Pakistani soldiers than the nine reported by the army.

Residents in the remote area say dozens of people have died since the offensive began.

The army has set up five bases in the region near the Afghan border to try to seal off the Taliban's main stronghold, the BBC reports.