The army has widened a campaign against Taliban militants in the countrys lawless border region ahead of a US troop surge in Afghanistan, according to Pakistani security officials and western diplomats. The army had already started hitting suspected Taliban targets in the northwestern regions of Orakzai and Kurram along the border with Afghanistan, one official said on Sunday. He claimed the campaign was intended mainly to clear out the Taliban before the additional 30,000 US troops arrive in Afghanistan. Western officials were however equivocal about the claims and said Islamabad needed to do a lot more to convince them that this was really a turning point in the fight against the Taliban. Everybody you talk to on Pakistan these days, acknowledges the (policy) shift but a lot more needs to be done said one diplomat. For Pakistan, there can be no turning back from this campaign. Another Pakistani official said the military had expanded its campaign beyond South Waziristan where the military has been fighting militants for the past two months to prevent anyone from striking at targets inside Pakistan. The official was echoing concerns in the Pakistani government that the US would raise the tempo of missile strikes possibly backed by ground incursions inside Pakistan to target al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries to coincide with the surge in Afghanistan. Statements that the military was launching strikes in Orakzai and Kurram came as Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, caused confusion about the state of operations in South Waziristan, saying they had finished. A senior government official later appeared to back away from those comments, saying the military was engaged in monitoring areas that it had taken back from the militants. Pakistani troops were still present in the rugged mountain region, and had not withdrawn although active combat had ended, he added. Pakistani officials have framed their offensive against the Taliban as evidence of stronger determination to tackle militancy in the country. But western diplomats warn that reports of the killing of a key al-Qaeda planner inside Pakistans border region by a US missile last week raised fresh concerns over the governments grip on the region.(FT)