Both the Pakistani army and the Taliban have claimed early victories in the clashes in South Waziristan, a tribal region that Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremists use as a base to plot attacks on the Pakistani state, Western troops in Afghanistan and civilian targets throughout the world. The U.S. has backed the military offensive in the remote, rugged area.
The army said Sunday that 60 militants and six soldiers have been killed since the offensive began Saturday. Two intelligence officials said at least eight more militants died Monday in a fierce battle in the Khaisur area, where they were coming closer to troop positions.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge the information to media on the record. They did not speak of any military casualties.
The Taliban claimed Sunday to have inflicted "heavy casualties" and pushed advancing soldiers back into their bases. It is nearly impossible to independently verify any of the claims because the army is blocking access to the battlefield and surrounding towns.