- COAS says terrorists have set up strongholds in rugged terrains of Khyber Agency after being eliminated from North Waziristan
- At least 20 suspected terrorists killed in Khyber blitz
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Friday said that the noose has been tightened around terrorists and anti-state elements would not be allowed to reestablish themselves in the tribal areas.
Gen Sharif made the statement during a day-long trip to Khyber Agency where he met with troops and local tribal people.
The army chief first visited Jawaro near the Pak-Afghan border and reviewed progress of the ongoing operation, which is in its concluding phase, said a statement issued by the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR).
Gen Sharif commended the troops on their professional commitment and paid rich tributes to their sacrifices in restoring peace and bringing normalcy to the troubled region of Khyber Agency. He said that terrorist strongholds in Khyber have been reduced and the operation close to the Pak-Afghan border is now in its last phase.
The COAS revealed that the area in which the operation is underway was heavily infested with foreign made Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). He said after North Waziristan, terrorists in Khyber Agency were using the most rugged terrains as their strongholds.
Gen Sharif also paid a visit to the de-radicalisation centre in Bara where those who surrendered in the operation are being provided with vocational training and education. He also complimented the tribal brethren for their full support in ousting terrorists from Khyber and appreciated their resolve for not permitting terrorists to return to these areas.
The COAS specially paid rich tributes to the martyrs and the wounded.
He also lauded the efforts of all law-enforcement agencies in countering terrorism across Pakistan. Gen Sharif reiterated that all terrorists and their facilitators will be apprehended and brought to justice. He also acknowledged the support of the entire nation and said that the objective of a terror-free Pakistan will be accomplished.
20 MILITANTS KILLED:
Meanwhile, at least 20 suspected terrorists were killed during airstrikes in Khyber Agency on Friday, said a statement issued by ISPR.
Around 18 suspected terrorists were also wounded in the airstrikes, according to the statement.
The ISPR statement added that key militant commanders were among those killed in the blitz.
The precise aerial strikes come amid the ongoing Khyber-2 operation launched by the army in the tribal region and are part of the military’s stepped-up efforts since a militant attack in Dec 2014 killed 150 people, mostly children, at Peshawar’s Army Public School.
The Peshawar incident came months after the army launched Zarb-i-Azb, a grand operation in the North Waziristan tribal region, following a Taliban-claimed attack on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.