ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Monday reiterated that all terrorists along with their sanctuaries will be eliminated without any discrimination.
“The operation is not targeted against our valiant tribes of North Waziristan but against those terrorists who are holed up in the agency and have picked up arms against the state of Pakistan,” the army chief said during his visit to the Corps Headquarters in Peshawar, where he was given detailed briefing on the progress of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
While expressing his satisfaction over preparation and progress of the operation so far, the COAS reiterated that with the support of the nation, particularly of our proud tribal brethren, Operation Zarb-e-Azb will be concluded successfully and comprehensively.
He directed all the authorities concerned to undertake special measures towards diligent management of IDPs in conjunction with the relevant civilian agencies.
The security forces expect that the tribal agency would be cleared of the militants within the ongoing summer season. “We would require three to four months to completely secure North Waziristan, not later than the coming October,” a security official told Daily Times in a background interaction on Monday. “The summer provides optimal weather conditions in Waziristan for the security forces to operate at their best. We are going to derive maximum out of it,” he claimed.
Officials said the operation will be conducted in three phases. “Hardcore terrorists and their sanctuaries will be targeted in the first phase. Civilian populated areas won’t be touched upon. Once civilian displacement and evacuation is complete, terror elements in civilian areas will be identified and hunted down in the second phase. The cleansing, combing and clearing operations would follow in the third and final phase,” they explained.
An update issued by the ISPR on Monday claimed that operation in North Waziristan Agency was progressing as per plan. “No operation in civil populated areas has been started so far. North Wazirastan Agency has been isolated by deploying troops along its border with neighboring agencies and FATA regions to block any move of terrorists in and out of the agency,” the statement said.
Troops have cordoned off all terrorists bases, including the town of Mirali and Miranshah, it said. “Seven fleeing terrorists were killed on the outskirts of Mirali Sunday night. In a separate sniper action by Special Service Group, three terrorists were killed while laying IEDs close to Miranshah,” it said, and added that six hardcore terrorists hideouts in Shawal were destroyed by jet aircrafts early in the morning. “In these precise strikes, 27 terrorists were killed. There is no civil population in the area.” Six soldiers were also martyred in clashes on Monday, while three soldiers were injured Sunday night in exchange of fire with terrorists in Mirali.
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