File - In this photo taken on Aug. 5, 2012, Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan. (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mahsud)
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The Pakistani army Sunday launched a long-awaited operation against foreign and local militants in a tribal region near the Afghan border, hours after jets pounded insurgent hideouts in the country's northwest, the army said.The North Waziristan tribal area, where the military said the operation is targeted, is one of the last areas in the tribal regions where the military has not launched a large operation.The U.S. has pushed Pakistan to clear out militants in North Waziristan because they often use it as a sanctuary from which to attack NATO and Afghan troops. But Pakistan has said its troops were already too spread out across the northwest, and the military has also wanted political support from the civilian government to carry out an operation which will likely spark a bloody backlash across the country.News of the operation came exactly a week after an audacious attack by militants against the Karachi airport killed at least 36 people including ten militants.Uzbek militants have long based themselves in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas.
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