Pakistan's army, under U.S. pressure to enter the militant bastion of North Waziristan, says it will do so but in its own time and when adequate resources are available.
At a conference in Jordan on special operations forces, Major General Farrukh Bashir, commander of the Pakistani military's Special Services Group, gave a presentation on mountain warfare outlining the obstacles to fighting in the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges along Pakistan's borders.
Following is a selection of the challenges, according to Bashir:
* Artillery fire is less effective because of the contours of the land
* Attack options are predictable
* Use of helicopters gives away your intentions
* Land mines are not effective because they are displaced by earth tremors or melting snow
* Delays in evacuation of casualties
* Defensive positions can be swept away by avalanches
* Resupply and reinforcement in the heat of battle are extremely difficult
* Difficult to achieve surprise.
* Close-quarter battle is required
* Re-stocking is done by mules
* Troops' acclimatization is very important, as is physical fitness and endurance
* Illness caused by altitude sicknesses
* Maps and aerial images tend to be deceptive
* Distance is measured in time, not in space, due to the terrain
* An invisible and faceless enemy. People met without incident in daytime may "take up arms and attack" at night
* Night landing by helicopters is very difficult in forested mountains or at high altitude
*Vehicle mobility restricted to roads
* Large numbers of troops required to hold cleared areas.
* Operations require intensive focus on logistics.
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