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Journey with Taliban shows militants' resilience

Ishtiaq Mahsud / AP

Masked Pakistani Taliban militants take part in a training session in an area of Pakistan's tribal South Waziristan region along the Afghan border. Associated Press reporter, photographer and videographer Ishtiaq Mahsud spent six days with fighters from the Pakistani Taliban close to the Afghan border. His account of their travels through South Waziristan offers a glimpse into an area that the Pakistani military claimed had been brought under control following an army offensive two years ago.

Ishtiaq Mahsud, AP, writes:

SOUTH WAZIRISTAN, Pakistan — For 15 hours, we walked with Taliban fighters through territory supposedly controlled by the Pakistani army and frequently pounded by U.S. drone strikes. Avoiding roads and towns, we easily evaded soldiers and were shown recruits drilling with weapons, militant positions and — from a distance — a compound used by foreign fighters.

The rare trip to South Waziristan revealed the resilience of militants in the northwestern tribal areas, some of whom are also battling American soldiers across the frontier in Afghanistan. It also demonstrated that the insurgents, who once ruled much of South Waziristan from permanent bases with many hundreds of fighters, are now largely a guerrilla force there. Continue reading.

Ishtiaq Mahsud / AP

Masked Pakistani Taliban militants take part in a training session in an area of Pakistan's tribal South Waziristan region along the Afghan border.

Ishtiaq Mahsud / AP

Masked Pakistani Taliban militants take part in a training session in an area of Pakistan's tribal South Waziristan region along the Afghan border.