Over 400,000 Pak troops needed to take on mighty Taliban in Waziristan: Expert

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 28, 2009 13:00 hrs

The Pakistan Army has been describing the South Waziristan offensive against the Taliban as the 'mother of all battles' and claimed that it has penetrated deep into the extremists den capturing the key town of Kotkai, however, experts consider all these claims as cosmetic and believe that it will require a massive effort from the military to flush the militants out of the region.

While the Pakistani officials have been claiming huge success in the so called 'epic battle', researchers say a massive number of troops amounting to anything between 370,000 and 430,000 would be needed to take on the might of the extremists and carry out an effective counterinsurgency operation in the tribal region.

According to Sameer Lalwani, author of a new report for the New America Foundation, there are not enough Pakistani troops to challenge the extremists and building up such a strong force would require huge efforts.

"The most Pakistan could free up from its border with India would be 152,000 more. Cobbling together a force of the needed size would take two to five years," The Christian Science Monitor quoted Lalwani, as saying.

Some 28,000 troops are currently facing off against a force of Uzbeks and Taliban numbering at least 12,000 fighters.

"That is going to be a really bloody fight.They've had higher force ratios before and it's been pretty bloody for them," Lalwani pointed out.

Some believe that the war could trigger a long, unending struggle against the state by the tribal people.

"The danger exists that this becomes a tribal issue. If all the Mehsuds see this as an attack against them, this will become a ong and drawn-out struggle," said Shuja Nawaz, an analyst with Washington based think-tank, the Atlantic Council. (AN)