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Map Last updated March 3, 2010
With the military on the offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan, Pakistani officials are hopeful that the Taliban will be decisively defeated if the forces of Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman Mehsud can be destroyed and the government’s writ can be restored in the Mehsud tribal areas. Government officials have described South Waziristan as the nexus of the Taliban’s operations, with 80 percent of terrorist attacks in Pakistan planned and executed from that tribal agency.
But despite recent operations in the region, the Taliban are still in firm control of several tribal agencies and districts in the northwest, and in the rest of the region the Taliban have a strong presence or at least contest the government for control. Even if Hakeemullah’s forces are defeated or forced to withdraw, the Taliban will still control half of South Waziristan; the military has cut a peace deal with Mullah Nazir, the South Waziristan Taliban leader who has had more senior al Qaeda and Taliban commanders killed in his tribal areas than any other leader.
The Taliban also have a strong presence in several districts in Baluchistan and Punjab provinces [the current map focuses on the Northwest Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and touches on several adjoining districts in Punjab and Baluchistan].
In addition to the Taliban, allied Pakistani jihadi groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Janghvi, Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Harkat-ul Mujahideen, and a host of other terror groups operate unfettered in much of Punjab, Sindh, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and the Northern Areas, and also maintain bases in the northwest.