The Number No One's Counting

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Al Jazeera English

The Number No One's Counting

by
Alan Fisher

The pictures are too gruesome to show. The charred bodies lie under a makeshift shroud. Someone near the camera holds up an identity card - giving one corpse a name, a history, a dignity that's now been stolen.

Nearby, the covered body of a child, no more than five or six. A victim of a battle the child didn't know even existed. In this place, at least four people have been killed. The figure could be higher. The army knows how many men it's lost. Every day it gives new figures for the number of Taliban it claims it's killed. But no-one seems to know how many innocent civilians are being killed in this conflict.

Exclusive pictures obtained by Al Jazeera show the damage the war in South Waziristan has brought to the town of Saroragha, which sits close to the Afghan border. These are the first images images of what's happening inside South Waziristan.

As the camera moves slowly from left to right, villagers are picking through the rubble of their homes, trying to recover anything of value. These are not Taliban fighters but ordinary people caught up in a battle they knew was coming but had no way of escaping. The army has been pounding positions here for months, using fighter planes and helicopter gunships.  It insists the targets were Taliban. Homes have been wrecked.

It's hard to find out what's going on in the conflict zone. The army has sealed off the area to the media, but the pictures confirm it has gained ground in the area. Jundola is one of the gateways into the Taliban stronghold. It's clear the area is now under Government control. The fight to gain more ground closer to the centre of Taliban operations is going to be much fiercer and inevitably more bloody.

Alan Fisher is an award-winning correspondent who has reported from across the world.

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