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Mapping The Taliban's Advance

While the Pakistani military claims to be killing scores of Taliban fighters in its fresh offensive in the western Swat Valley and in the surrounding Malakand region, according to a BBC Urdu Service study only 38 percent of western Pakistan’s Pashtun border region is under government control.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari has rejected the findings of this latest research, with Pakistani officials claiming that they still hold all the major towns and cities shown as being dominated by the Taliban on the BBC map. They say that the Taliban is only active in remote rural regions.

A less-publicized map, which has been on the web for a while, shows even more gains for the Taliban.

So despite the differing assessments on the extent of Taliban control, the fact remains that the militancy has grown both in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Taliban now represents a major military force.

-- Abubakar Siddique

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