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Pakistan Orders Offensive Against Taliban Commander


An official in Pakistan says the government has decided to mount a military offensive against Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.

The governor of North West Frontier Province, Owais Ghani, says the army will go after Mehsud in the Waziristan area of the semiautonomous tribal belt.

Mehsud has claimed responsibility for major attacks across Pakistan in recent months, including suicide bombings.

Pakistan's military said Sunday that the airstrikes it carried out in South Waziristan on Saturday killed 30 suspected militants.

In other developments Sunday, Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S missile strike in South Waziristan killed three people thought to be al-Qaida-linked militants.

Elsewhere in Pakistan's northwest, authorities blamed the Taliban for a bombing that killed eight people and wounded at least 40 in a busy market in the town of Dera Ismail Khan, south of Peshawar.

Officials say it appears the bomb was planted in a push-cart left in the middle of the market.

Pakistan's Taliban leader Mehsud is wanted by the United States for ordering attacks on U.S. targets in the region. The man is believed to be the main link between Pakistani militants and al-Qaida, as well as with Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

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