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Kerry, Petraeus meet Pakistani officials

Oct. 20, 2009 at 8:20 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Pakistan has sought U.S. help in relief efforts for civilians escaping from the current ground and air offensive against militants in South Waziristan.

The request was made by Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani during his meetings with U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., and Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander for the region, a statement from Gilani's office said. Kerry and Petraeus are in Pakistan to discuss the military offensive which began Saturday, The Washington Post reported.

Military officials said Pakistani forces, despite pockets of stiff resistance on the third day of the offensive, had surrounded some of the militants' hideouts and captured heavy weapons, the Post reported.

Pakistani officials have said the tribal region is where the extremists plotted their recent series of deadly attacks, the report said.

The United Nations and Pakistani military officials say more than 100,000 people, fleeing the operation in South Waziristan, have relocated to places in neighboring North-West Frontier Province. That number was expected to rise sharply.

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