As of early hours of Sunday, the Pakistan Army has provided the following information about their operations on three axes:
- Sararogha–the Taliban stronghold–has been surrounded on all sides. This means that the troops have gained all high points around the town and are holding them. The next phase, clearing up of the town is to begin soon.
- In the north the troops have cleared the outskirts of Makeen and continue consolidating their position in the area.
- The town of Kotki has been cleared and troops have also established positions around Kanigurm.
The next few days will see intense fighting as the troops will now start engaging the Taliban in their final prepared defensive positions. As expected, the Taliban will attempt to hit the Pakistani cities, but these actions are likely to further strengthen the public response. The rumors in the area suggest that the Taliban are waiting to entice the troops in so that they can then launch a decisive counter blow. I don’t think that is likely to happen, simply because this is no longer a half-hearted attempt by the army. All indicators suggest that the army is in earnest and is deploying all possible military assets to see this mission through. Simply, they are not in it to sign another useless truce. Also, on the popular front, the support for the operation has only increased. One can hope that at least militarily this would be the end of the free rule of the Taliban in South Waziristan.
Sustaining this military victory will depend on the short-term and long-term civic actions that follow and that is where the rhetroic of the US and other western nations will be tested.