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‘Decisive’ offensive against Taliban
14 militants, including a son of a hardline cleric, killed

The nefarious activities of the extremists and terrorists and militants to disrupt peace and security had reached a stage wherein the government is constrained to believe that decisive steps have to be taken
— Yousuf Raza Gilani, Prime Minister

Islamabad, May 7
Pakistan tonight announced a fresh "decisive" military offensive against the Taliban and pressed ahead with air and ground operation in northwestern tribal belt where fierce fighting killed nine soldiers and 14 militants, including a son of a hardline cleric who negotiated the Swat peace deal.

Ruling out compromise with or bowing down to the terrorists, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in a televised address to the nation tonight said that "the nefarious activities of the extremists and terrorists and militants to disrupt peace and security had reached a stage wherein the government is constrained to believe that decisive steps have to be taken.

"In order to restore the honour and dignity of our homeland and to protect our people, the armed forces have been called in to eliminate the militants and terrorists," he said soon after President Asif Ali Zardari held talks with US President Barack Obama in Washington.

Rallying behind the government's move, Pakistan Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani today chaired a meeting of the army's corps commanders telling them that requisite resources were needed to gain a "decisive ascendancy" over the militants.

"The present security situation requires that all elements of national power should work in close harmony to fight the menace of terrorism and extremism," he said.

Meanwhile, at least 14 Taliban were killed in intense fighting in Swat and Dir districts. Kifayatullah, the son of Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi chief Sufi Muhammad, was among 10 militants who were killed in an exchange of fire with paramilitary troops in Dir, the military said in a statement. — PTI

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