Pakistan military on Tuesday claimed that another 28 ‘terrorists’ were killed when fighter jets pounded their hideouts in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
The army’s media wing – Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – said the latest aerial strikes took place in Dattakhel area of the troubled agency.
Foreign militants were among those killed in the ‘precise aerial’ attacks, said the ISPR statement. Some reports suggested that a key Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Daud Matta was also killed in the strikes.
However, there was no official confirmation regarding his killing.
Close to 1,100 suspected terrorists have so far been reportedly killed since the military launched a full-scale offensive in the NWA in June this year. Around 90 soldiers also lost their lives in the operation codenamed ‘Zarb-e-Azb.’
The army has taken control of the major towns in NWA but there is no official timeframe available yet regarding the completion of the operation.
Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt General Abdul Qadir Baloch recently told BBC that if operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ does not complete within next 3 months, it will have serious political implications for the government.
His statement appears to indicate that the operation may conclude within next few months. The offensive in NWA has left over 1 million people homeless and many have taken refuge in makeshift camps.
The federal government has indicated that it may seek international help for the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2014.