DAWATOI: Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that Pakistan has successfully stemmed the tide of security challenges and the nation should stay united for ‘ultimate success’.
North Waziristan – which used to be a tribal agency before its merger with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – was a notorious terrorists’ haven before they were routed in a major military operation – codenamed Zarb-e-Azb – in 2014.
The command and control centre and bomb-making factories had been decimated, but some of the terrorists managed to slip into neighbouring Afghanistan to establish sanctuaries there. They frequently sneak in through unfrequented routes to mount attacks inside Pakistan.
In order to plug the holes in the porous border, Pakistan’s military started fencing its long western frontier with Afghanistan. On May 1, hordes of terrorists mounted a cross-border raid on army troops erecting the fence in the Alwara area of North Waziristan tribal district.
The attack was staved off, but three soldiers embraced martyrdom in the ensuing battle. Pakistan strongly protested with Kabul and made it clear that “fencing will continue despite all such impediments”.
Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday visited the troops on the forward posts along the Pak-Afghan border at Dawatoi in North Waziristan, where the deadly firefight had taken place.
The army chief was briefed about the progress on border fencing, sanitisation operation, socio-economic development projects and rehabilitation of the temporarily-displaced persons (TDPs), according to the military’s media wing, the ISPR.
Speaking on the occasion, Gen Qamar appreciated the high morale of the troops and “their contributions for bringing about stability in the area”.
He also spoke about the efforts Pakistan has been making for peace in Afghanistan. “While Pakistan continues to play its positive role towards success of the Afghan reconciliation process and peace in the region, we also stay ready for any unforeseen eventuality,” he was quoted as saying by the ISPR.
The United States, through its pointman for the region, has been engaged in peace talks with the Taliban who hold the key to peace in Afghanistan. However, the roller-coaster peace process in the Qatari capital of Doha has hit frequent snags.
Notwithstanding sporadic violence, Pakistan’s anti-terror purge has resulted in a remarkable decrease in terrorist attacks in the country.
“There are still challenges facing Pakistan but not as much as we have passed through in recent past. To continue the journey towards ultimate success, we need to stay patient, determined and united,” Gen Bajwa said.
“For this Pakistan is solidifying border through fencing, construction of new forts & posts and increase in strength of FC troops to effectively manage the border. Similarly we continue to maintain required state of alertness and preparedness on our eastern border,” he added.
Pakistan began erecting fence about two years ago to secure the 2,600-kilometre border with Afghanistan which will be dotted with several manned forts. Officials anticipate the fencing and other installations will be in place by the end of this year, saying it will help address mutual concerns of terrorist infiltration.