Army targeting all militants without discrimination: General Raheel

Published: November 20, 2014
Members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif. PHOTO: ISPR

Members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif. PHOTO: ISPR

UNITED STATES: Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Thursday said the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan was targeting all militants without any discrimination and was aimed at defeating militancy squarely.

Gen Raheel’s statement comes a few days after prime minister’s senior aide Sartaj Aziz – in an interview to BBC Urdu – questioned why Pakistan should target militant groups that do not pose a threat to its security.

Addressing a reception hosted in his honour, General Raheel said the operation was against militants of all hues and colors. “It is without any discrimination, whether it is Haqqani network, TTP or any other group,” The army chief affirmed

Hosted by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani for the visiting military delegation, the reception was attended by senior American officials from the state and defense departments, including US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Dan Feldman.

The army chief further said the military operation against militants was launched with great commitment and sincerity, after consultations with the government and support of the entire nation.

“Zarb-e-Azb is not just a military offensive but is a concept to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The anti-terror campaign is not restricted to Waziristan and Khyber tribal areas but covers the whole country,” he said.

General Raheel also expressed confidence in progress towards establishing peace and stability in the region under the administration of new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Commenting on the growing concerns in relation to the militant group Islamic State (IS), the army chief said the phenomenon of IS will not be allowed in Pakistan and Afghanistan. IS fighters have captured swathes of Iraq and Syria in a drive to set up a self-declared caliphate.

He also expressed satisfaction over his visit to the United States and said he had positive meetings with his counterparts on military-to-military relationship.

Further speaking at the occasion, Ambassador Jilani affirmed Pakistan’s determination to combat terrorism and improve relations with Afghanistan as Nato troops prepare to pull out.

He pointed out these developments require closer Pakistan-US cooperation.

“On the one hand, things are looking up but new challenges are also emerging which require good cooperation between our two countries.”

The ambassador added the defense relations are an important component of the wide-ranging Pakistan-US relationship.

Army chief meets US National Security Adviser

Earlier today, General Raheel also met with National Security Advisor (NSA) Susan Rice at the White House, according to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

General Raheel and Rice held in-depth discussions on the ongoing Pakistan-US security issues and expressed satisfaction on the overall positive trajectory in the bilateral relationship. Both sides reaffirmed their mutual desire and commitment to strengthen their relationship.

The army chief thanked Ambassador Rice for understanding Pakistan’s perspective on regional security and counter terrorism efforts.

He also briefed Rice on the current situation in the region, including violation of ceasefire and shelling by India on Line of Control and the working boundary.

“Both sides acknowledged the importance of reinforcing stability in Afghanistan. In this regard, NSA Rice appreciated the high level exchanges between Pakistan and Afghanistan following the inauguration of the new unity government led by Dr Ashraf Ghani. Both sides also recognised the continued need for close coordination and cooperation for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the statement added.

Meetings with members of Senate committees

During his tour of the US, Gen Raheel also held meetings with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Member of Foreign Relations and the Armed Services Committees, Senator John McCain was also present at the meeting.

According to ISPR, the committees lauded the successful operations of the security forces and destruction of militants’ command and control infrastructure in North Waziristan.

During the meeting, US senators were also briefed on Pakistan’s plans to rehabilitate the displaced people of Waziristan as soon as possible.

Earlier, Chair of the Select Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein along with other key members also met Gen Raheel and his delegation.

Both sides discussed a range of issues related to bilateral security cooperation and expressed a strong desire to continue and intensify this partnership in the coming months.

“The leaders discussed regional security issues and their commitment to an enduring partnership,” Pentagon Spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby said, after Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey met with army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.

“They also emphasised the importance of sustained and substantive dialogue as we continue to develop bilateral military-to-military relationship,” Kirby added in a statement following the Pentagon talks

General Raheel Sharif is in Washington for his first official visit to the United States on the invitation of the US Army Chief.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • sabi
    Nov 20, 2014 - 11:29AM

    First he toured Afghanistan then he gave guard of honor to president Ghani in Rawalpindi and immediately after he toured USA for seven long days.This is a message that Pakistan army is saying good bye to its long held strategic depth doctrine.Bad for inqilabis and their masters behind closed doors.
    Good bye inqilabis.


  • ifti
    Nov 20, 2014 - 11:34AM

    Looks like a dictator in making:)


  • Siraj Ahmed
    Nov 20, 2014 - 11:37AM

    When you see only two senators standing with our Army chief, it shows the extent to which Indian domination in the US administration has penetrated.


  • goldconsumer
    Nov 20, 2014 - 1:45PM

    Saddam Hussain’s lookalike may not think like him I hope..


  • abreez
    Nov 20, 2014 - 1:57PM

    If this time American fail to find any boney from Kakul and Chinese succeed to give Afghan drug lords another market that consume 50% of 90% Afghan ‘white gold’ then next cold war in South China Sea demand from people of America and its allies to offer their blood so that these countries can fight a war.


  • Zaida
    Nov 20, 2014 - 2:24PM

    There is double-speak and double-games happening all over Pakistan.


  • Hedgefunder
    Nov 20, 2014 - 2:29PM

    So finally commonsense prevails ! Nice to hear that General will deal with all the cockroaches with same stick.
    Better late than never.


  • Dr Ghulam Ali
    Nov 20, 2014 - 4:10PM

    Perhaps for the first time Pakistan Army under Gen. Raheel has decided to break from the past on the issue of terrorism. From the current policy it seems that Army has taken a uniform action against all terrorists regardless of their ideological orientation: whether they target Afghanistan, Pakistan or even India. Though late yet a big, positive change with long-term impact on Pakistan’s (bright) future.
    This change has already started paying. There is a reduced number of terrorist activities inside Pakistan as compared to the period under Gen. Kayani. Although, it will take a long time to completely eliminate this menace. Operation against terrorists has broken their backbone and has stopped them further strengthening. This policy shift is also being realized intentionally. This is obvious from the respect and the attention Gen. Raheel gained in the US (although appreciation from the US should not be our motivation. This rationale choice should be made under Pakistan’s own interests). Pakistan’s ruling elite especially the establishment should realize that extremists in no way are assets for the country. They only know how to destroy, but not how to heal or build. Their nefarious actions have broken the whole fabric of the country affecting future of many generations in addition to disgracing Islam across the world.
    Pakistan has a legitimate claim on the Kashmir. But the way, it has adopted to “liberate” the valley by promoting proxies is no more a sensible choice. Good relations (rather very good) with India as a neighbour should be maintained, without abandoning its principled stance on the Kashmir. ONLY a Pakistan that is economically strong, politically mature, having a well-educated and healthy society can bargain with India in a better. If the Kashmiris are given the plebiscite whether to join India or Pakistan or independent, I am not sure about their decision…… Who would like to join the current Pakistan?
    Anyway Gen. Raheel made a good choice to launch full-fledge operation in terrorist-inflicted areas. Coward Nawaz Sharif like coward Gen. Kayani could not take this bold decision. No doubt through these action, Army will restore its true image and get genuine respect from the people of Pakistan. Long Live Pakistan, Long live PTI.


  • Anon
    Nov 20, 2014 - 5:05PM

    Good for regional security! Good intentions by Pak Army. I hope in a short time terrorists are eliminated.Recommend

  • Wizarat
    Nov 20, 2014 - 6:59PM

    @Siraj Ahmed:
    You do know that the two are the current chairman and the incoming chairman for the next 5 years.
    Sometimes it is better to look at the glass as half full than half empty, it is the quality and not the quantity that is important.


  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)
    Nov 20, 2014 - 7:19PM

    We have to live with our neighbors. At the end of the day we cannot antagonize those Groups who have always been our well wishers. .


  • Musafir
    Nov 20, 2014 - 7:44PM

    @Dr Ghulam Ali: Very very sensible and balanced assessment on your part. If you are a Pakistani, I commend you for your thoughts and maturity. Unless, people like you raise their voices and prevail over the current mentality of people in Pakistan folks like will soon become a minority and the extremists in Pakistan and their ideology has already overtaken the sane. That is the way it appears to someone very far away from Pakistan but knows a thing or two about Pakistan. Additionally, this so called “Religious Militancy” within Islam is checked, it will destroy the world and Islam is already being known as the cause of it, like it or not; agree with it or not. Militancy is nothing but terrorism and ALL terrorism is bad. Good terrorism or militancy for the sake of proxy fights is an oxymoron and a myth. Islamist terrorism attracts the kind of people who know little about Islam, because it provides them justification for their, murder, terror, and uncivil acts. Unless, religious leaders of Islam stop preaching hate and update – relate their preaching and teaching in the context of the 21st century world instead of the 7th century, this will continue. Political Leaders, if there are any good ones in the Islamic world, need to use all the might in the disposal of their countries to stop this “religious militancy” and not use these confused people to perpetrate crimes in their own countries, neighbors, religion, region, and the world. That is why they are reaping exactly what has been sown for long.


  • shah
    Nov 20, 2014 - 7:56PM

    Slap in the face of Sartaj Aziz for his stupid statements on good terrorist/bad terrorist. That policy has failed completely and been dumped by GHQ. Aziz apparently never got the memo.


  • salman
    Nov 20, 2014 - 8:06PM

    This guy Raheel means business. Under Kiyani and Zardari Govt, we were standing in no man’s land. Had no policy how to stand against the militants after Swat operation. Kiyani had his reasons especially US unilateral action against OBL on Pakistani soil and drone strikes without Pak Army consent(atleast most of the times) but Gen. Raheel seemed to have clear vision, which he is implementing. It is really imperative to reduce trust deficient between Pak, Pentagon and new Afghan Govt while moving forward.


  • NewWorldOrder!
    Nov 21, 2014 - 8:14AM

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd):
    “Be positive” also mean give goodness “a chance” and it will come. WE have been negative for too long and went nowhere. No wonder long hopelessness have given birth to opinions like yours but the days of hopelessness are numbered. People have awaken and realized what they have lost and if they try they can turn their life around for the better. Respect from other come when you atleast do your job “efficiently”.


  • Saif
    Nov 21, 2014 - 5:51PM

    Yes thats y Sartaz Aziz was saying that y should we antagonize groups which are not creating problems for PAK..again double speak and same denial mode for which Pak is known for in world even countrymen have started realizing foreign policies and non state actors !


  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)
    Nov 22, 2014 - 7:44PM

    The question is “What is your take on the Afghan Taliban”. Aren’t there good & Bad Talibans. Don’t we differentiate from Friend or Foe.


  • goldconsumer
    Nov 22, 2014 - 8:39PM

    You obviously dont read my comments do you? :)


  • suleman
    Jan 11, 2015 - 12:26AM

    Action against terrorists without discrimination?
    What about saulat mirza and ajmal oahari and hundreds of like terrorists?
    This discrimination will rise terrorism. One is being crushed for attacking 1 general and other killer of 50 innocents in karachi is being protected in jail why?

    Shame on pak army! Karachi also resides pakistanis. Ni taliban comes to collect bhatta. No involved in target killing. No taliban collects animal skins on gunpoint.
    Shame on u raheel shareef. You are killing pakistanis with taxes of pakistanis.
    Nation will never pardon you.


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