ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Saturday that the army has eliminated the terrorists’ command and control centre in the North Waziristan Agency.
Media reports quoted Asif as saying that the armed forces were going after the terrorists, and that these elements would be apprehended regardless of where they are located in the country. “The state will go after the terrorists in all provinces,” the minister said, adding that the state has managed to ensure that the network of militants starts collapsing. The defence minister’s statement comes a little over a month after the launch of a full-scale military operation in North Waziristan.
Operation Zarb-i-Azb in the militancy-infested region was launched nearly a week after the attack on Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport in order to wipe out longstanding bases of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups. The semi-autonomous tribal area on the Afghan border has for years been a hideout for several militant groups including al Qaeda and the TTP as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.
After Miranshah, two important villages of Boya and Degan, which were known to be large concentration centres of local and foreign terrorists, have been cleared by the military troops during the operation. ISPR said in a press release on Saturday that consolidation of Boya and Degan is in progress while terrorists are being eliminated and dislodged from their bases in North Waziristan as the operation progresses as per plan. It said, a house-to-house search is being carried out by integrated group of forces in Mussaki, Hurmez and Mirali Bazaar. Terrorists holed up inside Mir Ali and surrounding areas have been firing rockets, mortars, heavy machine guns and sniper rounds. During exchange of fire, four terrorists were killed in Mirali and 12 IEDs were neutralised Friday night alone, while an IED-making factory, huge cache of arms and ammunition and foreign currency were also recovered.
Meanwhile, strangulation and targeting of terrorists and their hideouts in other areas in North Wazirastan Agency is continuing. On Saturday Corps Commander Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani visited Mirali, Boya and Degan areas of North Waziristan Agency and met with the troops busy in operation Zarb-e-Azb. About relief work, it said distribution of relief items for IDPs continues in Bannu, DI Khan and Tank. So far 133,002 ration packs have been distributed.
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