COAS vows to hunt down terrorists in remotest areas

65 militants killed in fresh air raids in North Waziristan

Kamran Yousaf September 11, 2014


At least 65 suspected terrorists were killed in fresh airstrikes in North Waziristan Agency on Wednesday, as Army Chief General Raheel Sharif reiterated that the military would pursue militants and take out their sanctuaries in even the most remote areas.

Gen Raheel was speaking to Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt who visited the General Headquarters (GHQ) on Wednesday. With security forces seemingly stepping up their campaign to root out militancy from the restive tribal regions in recent days, the air chief sought to review progress achieved so far in Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

During their meeting, the two services chiefs discussed the conduct of future operations, according to a statement issued by the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). “They vowed to employ all resources for a joint campaign plan and ensure success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb,” it added.

On the ground, warplanes bombed suspected hideouts of militants in Shawal Valley and Dattakhel areas of North Waziristan. According to the ISPR, at least 35 militants were killed and three hideouts destroyed in Shawal Valley. Another 30 militants were killed and two hideouts destroyed near Dattakhel.

With the latest fatalities the number of terrorists killed since the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in June this year to 991 while 83 soldiers also lost their lives. However, it is difficult to independently verify the army’s claim about the militants’ causalities as the media has no access to the area.

It has been almost three months since Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched to clear North Waziristan of terrorists. However, the army and the government have not given any timeframe for the completion of the offensive. Security experts say the next few weeks will be crucial for the security forces to achieve desired results as onset of the winters could make the job difficult.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2014.


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