Pakistan’s military said Tuesday that its forces have taken over a Taliban stronghold during the ongoing ground offensive in the tribal region of South Waziristan.
Pakistani security forces have secured Sararogha and have started to clear the town of weapons and ammunition, the military said. It comes a day after its forces gained control of Kaniguram, another key Taliban stronghold, which the military says its forces have now completely secured.
According to the military, 21 militants and one Pakistani soldier died in the past 24 hours of fighting — most of them in the raid on Sararogha. The military is trying to rout Taliban insurgents operating along the Pakistan-Afghan border.
The restive and largely ungoverned region of South Waziristan is the headquarters of the Pakistani Taliban.
Pakistan’s military suspects its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, is still in the region backed by up to 8,000 militant fighters.
Pakistan’s army has launched three similar offensives in Kaniguram and Sararogha since 2004 without success, sometimes agreeing to peace deals that eventually fall apart.
Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas recently told CNN that this time a peace deal is not an option.
“Certainly there is no scope of a peace deal,” Abbas told CNN. “It is a fight to the finish.”