1. OFFENSIVES

    Pakistan Captures Key Taliban Town

    Pakistan’s military is taking steps toward monopolizing the country’s Taliban stronghold. On Friday night, troops overtook the Taliban town of Kotkai in South Waziristan, the home of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and infamous suicide-bomber trainer Qari Hussain. Journalists are not allowed to enter the town but the army reports that as many as 100,000 civilians have fled the area. Pakistan initiated the South Waziristan offensive last week following a series of attacks that likely came from the area, which is considered a haven for militants. Pakistani soldiers briefly took over Kotkai earlier this week, but the Taliban fought back on Tuesday morning and killed seven soldiers. Last night’s success is considered a "major breakthrough because it was the stronghold of Taliban,” said a Pakistani official. The BBC reports that the conflict will now move deeper into less urban and populated areas of the region.

    Read it at BBC