Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud at a press conference in Peshawar in 2008.
Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, came out of hiding to talk to CNN about the military operation in South Waziristan and the Taliban’s planned response:
“We will wait till January for our offensive since we are stronger during the snowing season,” Mehsud said.
He told CNN he remains confident despite the large-scale military operation currently targeting him and his fighters in the province of South Waziristan.
“We have conserved our energy and have not lost our morale,” he said.
The leadership of his organization is safe, he said, but he didn’t say where they are taking refuge.
The military operation in South Waziristan appears to be winding down, and the Taliban appear to have slipped the Army offensive intact. The press releases issued over the past two weeks by the military’s Inter-Services Public Relations show this; there are few engagements, and most days there are no Taliban fighters killed or captured.
It will be interesting to see if the Army stays in the Mehsud tribal areas, and if they do, will they be able to withstand a Taliban insurgency. That is assuming Hakeemullah is correct and the Taliban counterattack is just a month away.
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