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What are the challenges of operating in South Waziristan

soldier

The harsh mountainous terrain is often cited as a major challenge for the army. The gullies, ravines and high mountain trails make arduous going and provide many hiding places for militants.

Knowledge of the terrain is vital – and in this respect the militants have the advantage.

However, the Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that the terrain in the Swat valley, where the army took the battle to the Taliban, was more difficult than that found in South Waziristan because it is more densely forested.

The Malakand division which includes the Swat valley is also a larger area than that in which any Waziristan offensive is likely to take place.

Weather will play a role. Snow is likely to blanket parts of the region from early December – particularly the Makeen area which is a Mehsud stronghold.

This is likely to pose a problem for militants and troops alike. However, the cold has not prevented the army from launching operations in South Waziristan in the past.

What might be a deciding factor is the militarised psyche of society in Waziristan. The Wazir and Mehsud tribes are often described by analysts as “born soldiers” willing to fight to the death.

October 14, 2009 - Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , ,

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