RAWALPINDI (Reuters) - Retired army captain Zafar Tajammal dismisses US demands for Pakistan to do more to fight militants as he chokes back tears. His son Captain Bilal Zafar was killed in the prime of his life, cut down by a rocket-propelled grenade while leading a charge against entrenched Taliban fighters. I loved him so much that once I told him 'I will not get you married. Because I love you so much I am afraid I will not be able to share my love with your wife, he said, sitting under a huge poster of the commando and the last SMS sent to relatives. If there was an American dignitary sitting in front of me I would certainly try to ask him, 'What else can a human being do more than sacrificing his life? Has any other army in the world suffered so many casualties fighting militants? Thats a question that has often strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, and its being asked once again after US authorities said a Pakistani-American was behind the attempted bombing in New Yorks Times Square. Washington wants Islamabad to both crack down harder on Afghan Taliban who cross the border to Afghanistan to support a raging insurgency there, and on homegrown Taliban insurgents. MASTERS OF TERRAIN The military says the casualty figures speak for themselves. Pakistan has lost 2,421 soldiers fighting militants since 2004, the military says. In Afghanistan, 1,777 US-led coalition troops have died since 2001, says website icasualties.org. There are currently 147,400 Pakistani troops stationed in the west and northwest along the Afghan border fighting militants, while total coalition troops in Afghanistan will number about 140,000 when a US troops surge is complete. The army says a series of offensives have badly hurt the Taliban . But the Taliban still carry out suicide bombings and brazen attacks, including one on army headquarters in Rawalpindi. CONSTANT PAIN The pain Major Ishtiaq Ahmed still feels everyday - years after his vehicle was hammered by a roadside bomb - reminds him of how effective the Taliban are. His bones were shattered into small pieces in his legs. A finger was blown off one hand and two other fingers are dysfunctional. Major Ahmed, who bristled at the suggestion soldiers were not pressuring militants enough, says he is ready for the battlefield again. Realistically, the decorated officer will more likely inspire young soldiers to take on the Taliban rather than fight them himself. There may be generations of Pakistani soldiers needed. They are damn good fighters, said Ahmed. The Taliban . All he needs is a bottle of water strapped to his side, 50 bullets and a rifle. And he will just wait and wait on a hillside for a week for you to pass by, and attack. Its a rare admission by a senior officer that military is vulnerable. Major Syed Imtiaz Shah is proud of the picture on his wall of former president Pervez Musharraf awarding him a medal for bravery. But he considers himself lucky. He still carries shrapnel in his neck from a clash with Indian troops in 1999. He also survived a battle with the Taliban . Militants fired a grenade at him several years ago, tearing off a large part of his forearm and leaving him with a mangled hand. Battling militants is far more complex. For one, the Taliban often blend in with fellow tribesmen and suddenly attack out of nowhere. If you find a person wearing a turban, with a Kalashnikov it does not mean he is a terrorist, said Shah. You have to differentiate between friend and foe. You have to get local support. That requires millions of dollars of investment in services, schools and job creation to win over locals. Its money that doesnt come easy given Pakistans sluggish economy. For now, Pakistan may have to rely on sheer determination to defeat the Taliban , and memories of those who died trying. Captain Bilal Sunawar wanted to be buried at the foot of his mothers grave. He got his wish after being killed by a rocket-propelled grenade in a battle with the Taliban . Do not stand at my grave and cry. Im not there. I did not die. IM SHAHEED (a martyr), reads his gravestone. Captain Bilals father, Chaudhry Sunawar, also a military man, said he had no regrets over his son joining the army. As a very small child, he used to put my military cap on his head and roam around the bungalow with a lot of pride. From the very beginning he had a liking for the military.