Terrorists shaving beards to flee SWA: ISPR
Army wins battle for Kotkai
* 21 terrorists, three soldiers killed in clashes
* ISPR DG says Taliban facing large-scale desertions
* Operation entirely indigenous
By Irfan Ghauri
ISLAMABAD: Security forces took control of Kotkai – an important Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) stronghold and the native town of its chief Hakeemullah Mehsud – after intense fighting on Saturday.
Addressing a joint press conference with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Athar Abbas said 21 terrorists had been killed and three soldiers martyred while eight people had been injured in the last 24 hours
He reiterated that the military operation in South Waziristan was completely indigenous and added that the terrorists were facing large-scale desertions among their ranks due to growing pressure by the armed forces, and were trying to flee from the area.
“Reliable sources have reported that due to the pressure of the ongoing operation, there have been large-scale desertions amongst the rank of terrorists groups. It has been also reported that the terrorists are shaving and trimming their beards to escape from the area,” Abbas said.
He said the military had not reached an accord with any militant outfit in FATA, adding however, that the government had signed a few agreements with people from the Tribal Areas, including the Ahmedzai and Wazir tribes through the FATA Secretariat to secure their support against the terrorists.
Asked about collaboration with the US in executing the operation, the army spokesman said, “We have asked them (the US) to let us finish the job on our own and get the support of local population (against terrorists).”
To a question about reports of the US vacating checkposts along the Pak-Afghan border and its possible fallout in the Pakistani area, Abbas said the reports were being verified and if confirmed the matter would be taken up at the appropriate level and the reasons for withdrawal would be sought.
He said there were no reports that the terrorists in South Waziristan were getting assistance from Afghan Taliban.