PESHAWAR, Pakistan, June 28 (UPI) -- Provincial leaders near the Afghan border are preparing to drive the Taliban out of the area, the information minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said.
Mian Iftikhar, the information minister, said provincial forces were bracing themselves to take strong action as the Taliban move to consolidate their presence in the area, the Daily Times newspaper in Pakistani reports.
"Thousands of terrorists may be gathering in small groups in Orakzai, and in the Mohmand and Khyber agencies," he said.
Washington links Pakistan's stability to its broader counterinsurgency campaign under way in neighboring Afghanistan. Iftikhar said despite the presence of small bands of militants, the government managed to eliminate much of the Taliban threat from along the border.
He said that North Waziristan risks becoming the "capital of terrorists" if security forces don't move to bring long-term stability to the region, however.
His provincial forces, he added, were prepared to force the Taliban from the area and eliminate them once and for all.