Pakistan’s prime minister has backed down from his statement that a military offensive offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan was over.
Yousuf Raza Gilani now says the operation is continuing and had so far brought many “successes”.
He said he was unable to provide any timeframe for when the South Waziristan operations would actually stop.
He said the operation may be extended to other parts of the tribal belt – including the northern Orakzai region.
The BBC’s correspondent in Islamabad Orla Guerin says the stage is being set for the next round against the Taliban.
Having failed to capture militant leaders in South Waziristan, Pakistan has little choice but to hunt them elsewhere, she says.
A military source has told the BBC that the army may have to hunt the militants all over the tribal belt where they are deeply entrenched. He said the fight could last for years.
Speaking in Karachi, the prime minister said his earlier televised remarks stating the operation was over may have been taken out of context, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
Mr Gilani said the current operation in South Waziristan had so far had a high success rate with “strongholds of militants” captured and a “large quantity of weapons and ammunition” recovered.
He said militants would be pursued wherever they took refuge. Many are thought to have fled to Orakzai.
The Pakistani military launched its offensive in South Waziristan, in the tribal area bordering Afghanistan, in mid-October.
The military operation in South Waziristan was the biggest in years, our correspondent says, with 30,000 troops sent into battle.
The United Nations says more than 40,000 civilians have left their homes in Orakzai and are in need of humanitarian assistance.