Asia Times reporter Pepe Escobar is a tad cynical about the big campaign-event-with-real-bullets on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border:
Any remaining "high value target" in Wana may have escaped by now - in a scheme not totally dissimilar to bin Laden's spectacular escape from Tora Bora in December 2001. At that time, hundreds of Arab and Chechen mujahideen put up very strong resistance in the frontline, while the "Sheikh" escaped to the Pakistani tribal areas using, among other means, a few tunnels. So it's no surprise that the Pakistanis have now also "discovered" a two kilometer long tunnel under the houses of the most-wanted tribal, Nek Muhammad. The tunnel may be instrumental in covering the Pakistani army's backs.
Apparently, this wasn't much of a "siege" -- anyone we would consider a "high-value target" knew it was coming and hightailed it out of the area a while ago:
It now appears that world public opinion fell victim to a Musharraf-inspired web of disinformation. In the early stages of the battle west of Wana in South Waziristan, Taliban spokesman Abdul Samad, speaking by satellite telephone from Kandahar province in Afghanistan, was quick to say that talk of al-Zawahiri being cornered was "just propaganda by the US coalition and by the Pakistani army to weaken Taliban morale"....
Sources in Peshawar ... confirm the Taliban claim that al-Zawahiri may have left South Waziristan as early as January and no later than early February, when word was rife all over the tribal areas about the upcoming spring offensive....
Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party, grumbled that elected tribal leaders were not consulted about an operation which had been planned for three months: "Every high value target was allowed to escape months in advance while the tribal population was used as a sacrificial lamb to satisfy the power lust of the regime."
Escobar notes that
al-Qaeda jihadis who settled in Waziristan have managed to seduce tribals young and old alike with an irresistible deluge of Pakistani rupees, weapons and Toyota Land Cruisers.
From the Pakistani troops, by contrast, they get this:
Local trucks and minibuses have been nowhere to be seen for days. The roads are sealed. Electricity has been cut off. Families fled heavy bombing of "strategic targets" - on foot for dozens of kilometers. Villagers were hit by mortar fire. The Pakistani army used 15 Cobra helicopters, two F-17 fighters and dozens of artillery batteries.
All so Musharraf could pretend to be on our side in the terror war.