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The tanks, armoured columns and helicopter gunships of Pakistan's army stormed into South Waziristan, the global headquarters of al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies.
Within hours of leaving their camps early on Saturday morning to fight what is being hailed as the decisive battle in the war against terror, 12 soldiers had been killed in the first ferocious gunfights.
Pakistan's generals have called the offensive the "mother of all battles" for the survival of a country under siege.
The fighting in South Waziristan is fierce and it is intense. Local administration officials say the Taliban are resisting fiercely as troops try to push into their territory.
Dozens of casualties have taken place, they say, and both sides are using heavy weapons.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Pakistani interior minister said Tuesday that the government was expecting more attacks by the Taliban as the military prepared to launch a major offensive in South Waziristan, the rugged northwestern tribal region considered a stronghold of Taliban.
President Obama has what everyone is conceding is a momentous decision on Afghanistan. The decision is whether to follow the recommendations of General McCrystal and send in more troops or not.
It was the third major attack in Pakistan this week, adding fresh urgency to the Pakistan army's plan to mount a much anticipated ground offensive in the Taliban's mountainous base in South Waziristan, along the Afghan border. Earlier this week, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Islamabad office of the World Food Program (WFP), which killed five people. The militant group is also believed to be behind a devastating suicide bombing in a Peshawar marketplace on Friday that killed 49 people. With Saturday's attack, the government has been left with "no other option" but to hit back, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a local news channel. "We will have to proceed. All roads are leading to South Waziristan."