Monday, June 15, 2009

Pakistan orders manhunt for Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud

The Pakistan government has ordered the army to hunt down the Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in his mountain hideout in South Waziristan. "Baitullah Mehsud is the root cause of all evils," said the governor of North-West Frontier province, Owais Ghani, announcing the operation in Islamabad. The precise details of the Mehsud manhunt remain unclear and the military said it was "evaluating the orders". But the operation promises to be a tough campaign against a determined enemy in some of the world's most difficult fighting terrain. South Waziristan is a rugged mountainous area that was the scene of fierce battles between British colonial forces and tribal rebels during the 1930s and 40s. It is considered a possible hiding place of Osama bin Laden. Mehsud, a former bodybuilder and border smuggler, is the most prominent of Pakistan's Taliban leaders. His Tehrik I Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group has allies across the tribal belt and has participated in recent battles against the army in the Swat valley....

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