The Taliban killed nine Pakistani soldiers during a ambush in a region where the military has claimed success in the recent past.
The Taliban ambushed the Pakistani military unit as it conducted a search operation in the town of Daburi, just outside the main town of Kalaya. Fighting was described as "fierce" as the two sides battled in the town.
The military claimed that 37 Taliban fighters were killed in the counterattack. Two Pakistani officers and seven soldiers were reported killed in the attack, AFP reported.
Arakzai is one of several regions where the Taliban regrouped after the military launched an offensive against the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in the Mehsud tribal region in South Waziristan. The Taliban have also regrouped in North Waziristan, Kurram, Khyber, Mohmand, and Bannu. Hakeemullah Mehsud, the current leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, commanded Taliban forces in Arakzai before taking over the group after his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a US airstrike in South Waziristan on Aug. 5, 2009.
The Pakistani military launched an offensive in Arakzai at the end of March, and have claimed success. On April 11, the Inter-Services Public Relations directorate, the military's public affairs division, said the Taliban were "fleeing" Arakzai.
"Due to successful operation of security forces in others agencies of FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Agences], militants had started fleeing to Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency due to its linkages with other agencies and Afghanistan," an ISPR press release read.
The Pakistani military has claimed that more than 650 Taliban fighters have been killed in Arakzai since March 21, while only 17 soldiers, including nine today, have been killed, according to reports compiled by The Long War Journal.
A US military intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal believes the Pakistani claims of more than 650 Taliban fighters killed are "overblown."
"A month ago they were 'fleeing' Arakzai and the Taliban was defeated," the official said. "It doesn't add up." The Pakistani military often uses air and artillery to root out the Taliban, and estimates the number of Taliban fighters killed. Reports on Taliban casualties are based solely on Pakistani military accounts, as reporters are barred from covering operations in the tribal agencies.
Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/05/taliban_kill_nine_pa.php#ixzz0ndy7kpT6
Click to view image: 'f53bf7b35bcd-e2ca7omlkmcachihescack2jjrcal72w2zcaoaffhvcallvuhoca42uzakcahoglavcazbh602ca8qdf9aca66ahqzcad7auuucab329cfcakby9ohcapcdy1wcajpaeupca10uv7eca4wurvicabqjfnk.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|