WASHINGTON: Director United States Defence Intelligence Agency Lt General Vincent R Stewart, while acknowledging effectiveness of the ongoing offensive against militants, Operation Zarb-e-Azb, has expressed confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear security efforts.
Lt General Stewart speaking before a Congressional hearing on worldwide threat assessment expected sustained Pakistani operations against militants this year.
“Pakistan continues to take steps to improve security of its nuclear arsenal. We anticipate that Pakistan will continue development of new delivery systems, including cruise missiles and close-range ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapons to augment its existing ballistic missiles,” he said, appearing before the House Armed Services Committee.
Lt Gen Stewart told lawmakers that Pakistan’s army and paramilitary forces remain deployed in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“Army ground operations in North Waziristan have cleared anti-state militants from most population centres, and we expect the military will continue targeting remaining militant strongholds in 2015.”
He noted that the TTP attack on an army-run school in Peshawar has emboldened military efforts against anti-state militants, including intensified airstrikes against TTP leadership and fighters.
The government and military are also working together to implement a national action plan against terrorism, which includes the establishment of military courts, he added.