Pakistan has reportedly gone on the offensive against militant Islamists in the northwestern part of the country. The area being targeted by Islamabad is believed to be in use by the Taliban and al Qaeda as a base from which they can launch attacks on troops in Afghanistan. According to DW, the U.S. has been urging Pakistan to launch an offensive against the region for some time, but until now, Islamabad has refused.
Pakistan orders strike
Pakistani officials apparently ordered military strikes to begin on Monday, as jets began bombing hideouts where militants are believed to be. They say at least 40 insurgents, most of whom were foreign nationals, died in the bombings. They say among the dead are three Germans who had ties to al Qaeda. Also Pakistani Taliban commander Wali Muhammad said to be killed in the airstrikes.
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According to The Express Tribune, Pakistani security officials have been meeting in Islamabad to discuss the situation there. The Pakistani Website reports that its sources said officials are planning to target more militant hideouts in North Waziristan, as well as all of the groups working against Islamabad. Violence has been increasing as militants continue to attack Pakistan. Citizens of Islamabad have been protesting the violence through sit-ins for much of the day today, and many people weren’t even able to get into their offices.
U.S. supports Pakistan
In light of this week’s airstrikes against northern militants in Pakistan, the U.S. has expressed its support of Islamabad. Richard Olson, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, said the U.S. will continue to support Pakistan no matter which route it takes against the Taliban. He also said he hopes Pakistan finds success in its battle against militant groups which threaten it.
The ambassador also assured officials that the U.S. would continue working to keep the Ground Lines of Communication open so that NATO supplies being sent to Afghanistan could still get through. He also said the U.S. has a number of ways to get goods into and out of Afghanistan.