Army clears last militant stronghold in North Waziristan

By AFP
Published: May 20, 2016
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Army chief General Raheel Sharif in Shawal on April 18, 2016. PHOTO: ISPR

Army chief General Raheel Sharif in Shawal on April 18, 2016. PHOTO: ISPR

SHAWAL: Pakistan Army said on Friday it had cleared the last militant stronghold in the country’s northwestern tribal area after a three-month long operation.

In February troops began the final phase of Operation Zarb-e-Arb in North Waziristan.

“We have cleared the Shawal valley completely of militants,” Brigadier Shabbir Narejo told reporters at a briefing.

Troops, helicopter gunships, tanks and jets were deployed in the operation, during which Taliban militants put up “stiff resistance”, Narejo said.

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“There were up to 2,000 trained militants in the valley, but we surprised them by launching the operation in the peak of winter in minus 12 degrees Celsius,” he said.

He said that six soldiers and up to 120 militants died in the fighting.

Reporters were shown weapons and missile launchers that were seized and also huge tunnels where militants had been hiding in the thick, forested valley.

Narejo said some militants had fled to Afghanistan, but that troops had set up around 15 posts on the border to intercept any movement.

“We have eliminated the threat and it would pave the way of the return of some 150,000 people of North Waziristan to their homes soon,” he added.

The army launched the operation under US pressure in mid-2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the area and end the near decade-long Islamist insurgency that has cost Pakistan thousands of lives.

The operation was intensified after the Taliban massacred more than 150 people, the majority of them children, at a school in Peshawar in December 2014.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Bilal
    May 20, 2016 - 9:38PM

    I would really love to meet the guy who thinks that this operation was launched “under US pressure” and clear his thought process. This operation was launched after Taliban sabotaged all our efforts of arriving to a peaceful end of the conflict by attacking our courts, airports, schools and bazaars. So please bear this in mind that the people of this country were longing for this operation not the US. Recommend

  • Hakim Afghani
    May 20, 2016 - 9:48PM

    Ali Haider Gilani was kept in Waziristan until December 2015 where it was declared cleared of TTP completely. It seems it was not clean at all… These statements are baseless and means nothing except a useless propaganda.

    Clear it by going house by house… Do not miss even one. check one by one… i mean ONE BY ONE!Recommend

  • Ghauri
    May 20, 2016 - 10:25PM

    Now afghans need to be sent back.. Seal the border…Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    May 21, 2016 - 12:16AM

    There is no independent way of verifying the information. We just have to take their word for it. I remember the same news of victory was being aired on the radio in 1971, when on the ground the situation was the exact opposite.
    I was watching an unbiased documentary about these so-called operations the other day. Forget Waziristan, there are large areas in “Peshawar” that are completely under the control of the Taliban, and the state has no authority there.Recommend

  • Ishrat salim
    May 21, 2016 - 1:03AM

    Out if 2000 militants 120 killed, how many did we find in injured condition and whee did the rest go ? Threat has not gone yet. Recommend

  • kunta
    May 21, 2016 - 3:19AM

    Deja-vu – how many times does one clear the “last militant stronghold”?Recommend

  • Zahid
    May 21, 2016 - 3:54AM

    Pakistan Army Zindabad General Raheel Sharif Paindabad, now we can tell the world how brave our Army and people of Pakistan
    Thank you General Raheel Sharif
    Plz.also take seriously action against these corrupt politicians e.g Nawaz Sharif and Zardari familiesRecommend

  • Pakistan
    May 21, 2016 - 4:58AM

    Let’s see if this is a success or just another failure like hundreds of other attempts. If it’s a success – great. If not, hopefully we stop killing each other. Dialogue.
    Thanks.
    Pakistan.Recommend

  • sabi
    May 21, 2016 - 7:29AM

    @Bilal:
    Well said I agree with you.Recommend

  • R
    May 21, 2016 - 7:46AM

    @Ghauri:
    Afghanis are normal people just like us, they are just trying to escape the violence.
    Basically what you are trying to say is Afghanis are terrorist which is same as saying all Muslims are terrorisRecommend

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