Hakimullah Mehsud says militants will take on Army soon
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 09, 2009, 14:57
Islamabad: Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud has claimed that the militants have not lost their morale due to a major military offensive in South Waziristan tribal region and said they have "conserved" their energy to take on the army when it snows.

"We will wait till January for our offensive since we are stronger during the snowing season," said Hakimullah, who was made chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan after his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack in August.

Hakimullah said he remained confident despite the large-scale military operation targeting him and his fighters in South Waziristan Agency bordering Afghanistan.

"We have conserved our energy and have not lost our morale," he said in a phone call to CNN.

He said the local Taliban leadership is safe but did not reveal where they are taking refuge.

The army says over 600 militants and more than 60 soldiers have died so far in fighting in South Waziristan, where 30,000 troops backed by artillery and tanks launched an offensive against the Taliban in October.

The army's figures cannot be independently verified as reporters have no access to the conflict zone.

Soldiers have secured many Taliban strongholds, including Hakimullah's hometown, but no top militant leaders have been killed or captured so far.


First Published: Wednesday, December 09, 2009, 14:57

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