ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Monday reiterated the army’s resolve to ‘chase and hunt down’ terrorists “across the country till their final elimination”, following his visit to the headquarters of an all-important field formation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
This was General Raheel’s first visit to NWA since the start of Zarb-e-Azb operation on June 15, and second since he assumed the charge as the COAS last year.
The army chief visited the headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division based in NWA and received briefings on the operational and tactical progress on Zarb-e-Azb operation.
The military chief, according to sources, also visited the Pakistan Army’s Border Coordination Centre (BBC) located in Laro Mandi, NWA, in line with monitoring cross-border cooperation among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) against terrorism at the Pak-Afghan borderlands. A day earlier, on Sunday, Peshawar Corps Commander Lieutenant General Khalid Rabbani visited the NWA.
Zarb-e-Azb’s operational chief General Officer Commanding, 7th Infantry Division, Major General Zafarullah Khan and Frontier Corps Inspector General Major General Tayyab Azam gave briefings to the army chief, sources within the military said.
General Raheel’s visit comes on the heels of a powerful ground assault that the Pakistan Army and the FC have launched in Miranshah last week. On Saturday, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)-led surgical strikes were resumed in Miranshah for the first time since the ground operation’s launch on June 30, to augment ground reinforcements after the security forces met fierce resistance in Boya village.
According to a military statement on the army chief’s visit to NWA, General Raheel spoke to “valiant troops in the middle of operation in Miranshah”, and lauded them for their “courage, dedication and high state of morale, and expressed his satisfaction over the progress achieved so far since the start of the operation. He commended the entire chain of command for their determined efforts in planning, preparation, mobilisation and execution of the operation”.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the COAS once again urged the officers and men to “eliminate all local and foreign terrorists and their sanctuaries”. Alluding to the end objective, the COAS affirmed that terrorists would be chased and hunted down across the country until their final elimination. He acknowledged and appreciated the support of the entire nation and avowed that with unflinching national resolve and clear direction, “we will accomplish our mission and rid Pakistan of the scourge of terrorism”. He specially paid a rich tribute to the martyrs and the wounded.
According to the ISPR, the COAS also paid tribute to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) for their sacrifices to restore the writ of the state, and acknowledged the national spirit and support for the army from across the country. “The army will not abandon the tribal brethren in their hour of need, and all possible assistance will be rendered to the government and various organisations in bringing them maximum relief,” the military statement quoted the army chief as saying. The COAS, it said, also assured the nation of army’s role in rebuilding the region and restoring normalcy in the restive NWA.
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