Pakistan's Zardari vows to fight 'until the end'

President Asif Ali Zardari said Saturday that Pakistan was battling for its "sovereignty" a day after scores of people were killed amid an escalating offensive against the Taliban, AFP reported.

Zardari said Pakistan would fight "until the end," as US defence officials in Washington confirmed that Islamabad was stepping up its operations against militants in the country's troubled northwest.

"We are fighting a war for our sovereignty," Zardari said in a television address. "We will continue this war until the end, and we will win it at any cost.

"The Taliban are the enemies of innocent people. They want to terrorise the people and to take control of the country's institutions."

Zardari's pledge came after suicide bombings targeting Friday prayers at two mosques killed at least six people, including a prominent Muslim cleric, and wounded more than 100.

The explosions confirmed fears that Taliban militants would avenge an offensive against them in the northwest, which was launched under US pressure after rebels advanced to within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of Islamabad in defiance of a peace deal.

To help efforts against the insurgents, the government on Saturday proposed a defence budget of 343 billion rupees (4.24 billion dollars), an increase of 47 billion rupees from the previous year.

Islamabad will also increase the salaries of soldiers fighting in three northwestern districts and along the border with Afghanistan from July 1, with the rest of the troops to get a pay rise from January 2010.

Pakistan's tribal zones harbour Taliban and Al-Qaeda rebels who fled the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, and Washington has said militants are using the lawless areas to regroup and plan attacks on the West.

On Saturday the Pakistani military said that it had killed 41 more militants in the northwestern districts of Malakand and Bannu.

Religious scholar Sarfraz Naeemi, who had spoken out against Taliban suicide bombings, was among two people killed in one of Friday's mosque attacks, in the eastern city of Lahore, police said.

Some 5,000 people Saturday attended his funeral prayers as strikes to protest his killing were held in Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan's two largest cities, officials said.

Protests to condemn the attack on Naeemi were also held by religious groups in several cities.

In Friday's other mosque bombing, four people died and at least 105 were wounded when an explosives-filled car ploughed into a mosque in the northwestern garrison town of Nowshera, police said.

Meanwhile, security officials said that jets pounded militant hideouts in the Mohmand tribal district bordering Afghanistan, killing at least seven rebels.

The tolls could not be verified independently as the areas are out of bounds to journalists due to the ongoing military operations.

A spokesman for militant leader Baitullah Mehsud's Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the two mosque attacks, as well as Tuesday's bombing of a hotel in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province.

"Anyone who will oppose us to please the Americans will face the same fate," Maulvi Omar told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

In Washington, senior defence officials, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said Islamabad planned to step up its offensive against Taliban forces in South Waziristan.

The region is a stronghold for the TTP, Pakistan's umbrella Taliban organisation, as well as for Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.

These groups are clearly interconnected, the official said, so "an offensive certainly can play an important role," noting that the strategy is to "have pressure on both sides of the border."

A 90,000-strong US and international coalition is fighting the Afghan Taliban and other insurgents on the Afghanistan side.

The Pakistani military said in a statement Saturday that it bombed two suspected hideouts used by TTP members in Makeen, South Waziristan, adding that the number of casualties could not be ascertained.

New terminal to be built in Georgia's Poti port
New terminal to be built in Georgia's Poti port
Kazakhstan’s DAMU supports new terminal construction in Shymkent int'l airport
Kazakhstan’s DAMU supports new terminal construction in Shymkent int'l airport
Low-cost air company Ryanair  not to commence flights in Georgia
Low-cost air company Ryanair not to commence flights in Georgia
Loading Bars
Latest
Brazil's COVID-19 cases surpass 5.4 mln
U.S. Senate confirms Trump's Supreme Court pick Barrett in nearly party-line vote
5.2-magnitude earthquake hits central Iran, no casualties
Czech Republic to introduce night curfew from Wednesday
61 more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day
Germany reports 8,685 new COVID-19 cases
Footage from liberated from occupation Gubadli city (VIDEO)
Footage from liberated from occupation Khanligr village of Gubadli region (VIDEO)
Armenia does not want to take bodies of its deceased soldiers as it fears anger of people - Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan
Kazakh PM meets with Turkish Defense Minister
Footage from liberated from occupation Padar village of Gubadli region (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan neutralizes one of 3 missiles shot by Armenian troops at Azerbaijan's Tartar
Azerbaijan's Bank Association denies lies spread by Armenian side
Effective co-op in field of border security established between Azerbaijan, Iran
Armenian Armed Forces shell Azerbaijan’s Tartar by using 'Smerch' missiles
Armenia indiscriminately targets civilians - Assistant to Azerbaijani president
Azerbaijanis hold rally in California, condemning Armenian terror (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani compatriots living in Minnesota hold protest rally (PHOTO)
Armenian Armed Forces shelling Azerbaijan's Tartar city, villages
Armenian armed forces shelling Tartar city with artillery, missiles in gross breach of humanitarian ceasefire
Iran's powder detergent production grows
Azerbaijanis in Denmark hold protest rally against Armenian terror (PHOTO)
Turkish embassy in Georgia talks joint energy projects of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey
Protest rally against Armenian attack on Ganja held in Bielefeld, Germany (PHOTO)
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale October 27
Armenian Armed Forces’ quadrocopter destroyed by Azerbaijani troops
Al Jazeera posts article covering aftermath of Armenian missile attack on Ganja
Baku's secondary housing prices show monthly decline
Investments in Iran's capital market increase
Uzbek Reconstruction and Development Fund to support creation of Export Support Fund
Turkey's export of defense products to Morocco plunges
Nagorno-Karabakh region to be liberated sooner or later: press secretary of Turkish president
USD falls against Uzbek soum for the first time in three months
Work connected with laying of gas pipelines on freed Azerbaijani territories kicked off (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Volume of maritime cargo shipment via Turkey from Spain disclosed
Turkmenistan significantly increases import of wheat flour from EAEU countries
Azerbaijani railway operator admitted to consortium of Trans-Caspian Transport Route
Georgia reveals results of 18 foreign exchange auctions conducted by National Bank
Iran Khodro reveals amount of funds saved thanks to domestic manufacturing
Export of Turkish-made defense products to China slumps
Armenian Armed Forces fire at school in Aghdam (PHOTO)
Assistant to Azerbaijani president comments on photo of Armenia's defense minister together with Armenian soldiers
Macron's anti-Islamic statements point to extreme misunderstanding of religion - Arab analyst
Uzbekistan’s Kashkadarya tops list of regions implementing foreign investments
Heritage Foundation's Foreign Policy Studies Center Director comments on photo showing Russian field camp set up near Armenian Tegh
Georgia sees increase in hazelnuts export
Georgia reveals volume of exported apples
U.S. regrets EU move on tariffs, seeks deal on Boeing-Airbus row
Russia seeking to be stabilizer in South Caucasus, says Russian expert
Uzbekistan discusses strengthening multilateral co-op with China and S. Korea
President Aliyev congratulates commanders of joint military corps who distinguished themselves in liberation of Gubadli city, villages of Gubadli district from occupiers
Review of statistics of people registered within state program 'Remotely from Georgia'
Volume of trade turnover between Turkmenistan, Russia’s Perm Krai revealed
Azerbaijani army does not fire at civilians - Defense Ministry
President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by Italian Rai 1 TV channel (PHOTO)
Iran launches new water treatment facility in Tehran
Iran studies Famotidine as Coronavirus treatment
Industrial production in Karabakh to increase in post-conflict period - CAERC head
Turkish president urges to boycott French goods
Work on power supply to strategic facilities in freed Azerbaijani territories underway (PHOTO)
Bank of Georgia suffers loss
S&P Global Ratings expects Azerbaijan's export to grow in next years
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price falling
Wildfire breaks out in Azerbaijan's Dashkasan district from Armenian attacks (VIDEO)
SOCAR considering new investments in Turkey
Romania's import of Azerbaijani products for 9M2020 revealed
Armenian Armed Forces fire at Azerbaijan’s Tartar district
Price of most Georgian companies’ shares up on London Stock Exchange
UK armed forces take control of ship in English Channel, seven people detained
Mobile phones and smartphones import down in Georgia
Azerbaijan confirms 131 more COVID-19 recoveries
Iran enlarges petrochemicals production
Azerbaijan hikes export to Belarus in 9M2020
S&P says Azerbaijani manat to maintain position against USD
German government raises 2020 GDP forecast to -5.5%
Turkmenistan ready to support contracts with companies of Russia’s Perm Krai
Recruiting children by Armenia against Azerbaijan is war crime, says Lebanese lawyer
President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan restoring historical justice on battlefield
Azerbaijan's Aghjabadi district again under fire of Armenian Armed Forces
It is not worth using peacekeeping efforts of third states in settlement of Karabakh conflict - Georgian expert
Weekly digest of Azerbaijan’s energy sector
Uzbekneftegaz accelerates commissioning of technological devices due to autumn-winter period
EU's Barnier heads for London for Brexit deal talks
Corn oil produced by Georgian Plant Oil Company Qarva to enter supermarkets
President Ilham Aliyev talks proving to world that Karabakh is Azerbaijan's historical land
Turkey discloses 9M2020 data on cargo movement via its ports from UK
Armenia's leadership, criminal junta regime have no moral, ethical framework - Azerbaijani top official
Iran ready to fire at Armenian Armed Forces if they approach its border with Azerbaijan
Iran`s Quchan grapes exports revealed
Turkmen private sector provides half of industrial production in Balkan region
Amount of industrial enterprises launched in Iran's Hamadan soars
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for October 26
Uzbekneftegaz eyes to increase natural gas production
Armenia never supports peace – Azerbaijani MP in interview to TRT World TV channel (VIDEO)
Karabakh conflict's settlement process is at hot point - Kremlin spokesman
Over 230 tankers with ACG oil shipped from Ceyhan terminal
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office gives updates on civil casualties, damages
Iran's Shazand Oil Refining Company opens tender to buy equipment
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council slams French president
Canada points out importance of creating mechanism for resolving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
All news