The fighting in the Tirah Valley claimed nine more brave Pakistani soldiers during the recent clashes. Seven extremists were also killed during the same clash. The geo-strategic location of Valley makes it an ideal launching pad for the Taliban to stage attacks on Peshawar as well as providing them with a safe passage into Orakzai agency. Since it is near Landi Kotal, which is close to the route used by the Nato supplies’ containers, it further adds to the importance of the valley. But all these factors are secondary before Pakistan’s security and peace. The valley is dangerous because in it the militants have found a hideout. They must be stamped out at all costs. The military that was earlier relying on air power is now using ground forces to drive out the militants but is facing considerable resistance.

Despite the terrain, the ground forces of the army have been able to move forward and capture some of the crucial posts under the control of Taliban. Complicating the matter is the fact that the Taliban are reportedly equipped with advanced weapons. Obviously, unless and until there is sustained funding, any such campaign of violence and that too against a state army cannot be prolonged. The sources of funding, from the most benign seeming mosque and madrasahs to the most obvious campaigners for ill conceived concepts of violence in the name of religion, must be caught and presented to the courts to be made an example of for aiding and encouraging terrorism and anti state propaganda in Pakistan. It is also necessary for the army to maintain hold of the captured areas; vacating them means allowing the miscreants to reclaim their turf.