Hakimullah Mehsud says militants will take on Army soon

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 9, 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.

PTI




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