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Pakistan Army takes fight to Taliban in South Waziristan

Gen. David Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, is due to arrive in Islamabad on Monday for talks with Pakistani commanders.

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A policeman approached a man entering Pakistan's North West Frontier Province from South Waziristan by foot at a check post on Sunday.

Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

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A three-pronged offensive deep into Taliban territory entered its second day on Sunday as heavy fighting between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban left 60 militants and six soldiers dead, according to officials.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, is due to arrive in Islamabad on Monday for talks with Pakistani commanders regarding what observers have called the "mother of all battles," highlighting the importance Washington attaches to the offensive.

Codenamed "Rah-i-Nijat" or "The Path to Salvation," the operation is taking place in the Taliban heartland of South Waziristan, a barren, mountainous region spanning some 6,620 square kilometers. It has been described as an Al Qaeda safe haven where 80 percent of terrorist attacks in Pakistan are planned.

According to retired Brig. Shaukat Qadir, a military analyst, securing the territory will be crucial in preventing militants from carrying out the kind of deadly attacks that have killed more than 150 Pakistanis over the past two weeks.

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