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Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

While the government of Pakistan touts a complete and swift success against Taliban operatives in the remote region bordering Afghanistan, reports from the scene suggest the offensive is more of a charade to placate the Bush administration whose determination to capture or kill Osama bin Laden before the end of the president’s term is well-known, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Reports from Peshawar say armored vehicles occasionally roll through the streets of the Khyber tribal district, but little actual conflict is evident.

Pakistan’s government sent troops into the region Friday, June 27, but there have only been half a dozen deaths reported, a handful of arrests and no actual clashes. Residents said terrorists threatening the northwestern city of Peshawar have simply melted into the hills.

At one checkpoint at the entrance to the Khyber district, only four armed soldiers and some policemen were present. Another police post nearby was empty, while at a third four officers lounged on a bed frame under a tree to avoid the hot sun.

“It was a drama to make the Americans happy,” said a resident of Hayatabad. Another resident described the operation as “theatrical.”

The offensive was the first ordered by the new government of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The government started negotiations with the militants in March to restore peace in South Waziristan, where pitched battles have claimed thousands of lives since March 2003.

But the move drew fire from Washington, saying the talks give the militants a chance to regroup and intensify attacks on the U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan. Gilani denied the government had launched the operation under pressure from Washington, saying negotiations with militant groups would continue.

“This is our war and it is for our own survival,” he said Monday.

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