As Pakistani forces press ahead with their most concerted campaign in years against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the dry, jagged hills of Pakistan's tribal belt, the insurgents have moved to establish new footholds in remote corners of the Texas-sized region along the border with Afghanistan.
The Islamic militants are seeking to spread their influence in areas previously untouched by fighting and are in some cases facilitating new alliances between outside groups and local insurgents, observers and officials say.
The insurgents are also increasingly employing heavy weapons and have made several brazen frontal attacks on army outposts that differed significantly from hit-and-run guerrilla-style skirmishes of the recent past.
"They've become better organized, more disciplined and more capable of mounting big attacks," said Rahimullah Yusufzai, an analyst based here in Peshawar, capital of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, which abuts the tribal belt.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
And Even Worse
Los Angeles Times: