The military claims to have achieved ‘phenomenal successes’ in the operation it launched in mid-July last year in a tribal region where homegrown and foreign terrorists had found a safe haven. It has been one and a half year since Operation Zarb-e-Azb was initiated to flush out terrorists from North Waziristan Agency.
Most parts of the agency have been cleansed. And “last pockets [of resistance] close to the Pak–Afghan border [are] being cleared”, the military’s media wing, the ISPR, said in a statement.
“Terrorists’ backbone [has been] broken; [their] main infrastructure dismantled; [their] nexus with sleeper cells largely disrupted,” it added. “Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) continue to bust [the] remaining sleeper cells.”
The ISPR said that 3,400 terrorists have been killed and their 837 hideouts destroyed. “During the last 18 months over 13,200 IBOs have been carried out across the country in which 183 hardcore terrorists were killed, and 21,193 arrested.”
These successes have been achieved at a heavy price though. “[Around] 488 valiant officers and men of Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps K-P, Balochistan, and Rangers Sindh sacrificed their lives, and 1,914 [were] injured in Operation Zarb-e-Azb,” it added.
The government has set up 11 military courts in the country under a new national action plan against terrorism to try hardcore terrorists. According to the ISPR, 142 cases had been referred to the military courts. Of these, 55 have been decided, while 87 are in process. The military courts have so far convicted 31 hardcore terrorists.
The military said the nation’s support for its valiant armed forces and its resolve against terrorism expressed after the December 16, 2014 attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School has been the bedrock of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The overall improvement in the security situation owes to Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the ISPR said. “Festivities, national events [are being] celebrated, and stability being achieved.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2015.
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