Pakistani soldiers take Taliban stronghold

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Pakistani soldiers captured the hometown of the country's Taliban chief yesterday in a breakthrough in their eight-day-old air and ground offensive in South Waziristan. An army spokesman claimed the Taliban was in disarray, with many deserting its ranks.

Kotkai town, home of the Pakistani Taliban chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, and one of his top deputies, Qari Hussain, lies along the way to the militant base of Sararogha, making it a strategically helpful catch. Most of its homes were turned into "strong bunkers" and it also hosts a suicide-bomber training camp.

The US military has kept up its own missile strikes, including a suspected attack that killed 22 yesterday.