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Pak forces launch big offensive vs. terrorists in Khyber tribal area, discloses DG ISPR

  • Militant groups still have some hideouts in Rajgal bordering Afghanistan;
  • We are confident that security forces will succeed to clear the area: Bajwa
  • There is no organized infrastructure of Daesh in Pakistan but the group is
  • getting stronger in Afghanistan; Pakistan Air Force will provide air cover

Rawalpindi: The security forces on Sunday launched a fresh major ground and air offensive in a rugged mountainous region to clear the area of the militants, the military spokesman said.
DG ISPR Major General Ghafoor told a news conference that operation "Khyber-4" will be focus on Rajgal, a valley in Khyber tribal area, bordering Afghanistan where the militant groups still have some hideouts.
"As Rajgal valley is located in rugged mountainous, the operation will be difficult but we are confident that the security forces will succeed to clear the area," the military spokesman said.
He said the operation is aimed at breaking the contacts between Afghanistan-based Daesh with Pakistani militants and to stop the Daesh militants from entering in Pakistani areas from Afghanistan for terrorist activities.
Pakistani forces launched operation a day after the U.S. defense department Pentagon said that the U.S. forces killed the Daesh regional leader Abu Sayed in a recent airstrike in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province. Abu Sayed was the third Daesh leader for Khorasan region who has been killed in Afghanistan in one year.
"There is no organized infrastructure of Daesh in Pakistan but the group is getting stronger in Afghanistan and the objective behind the operation is to check growing influence of Daesh on the Afghan side of the border," General Ghafoor further said.    
He said Pakistan Air Force will provide air cover to the ground forces in the operation that will cover 250 square kilometer areas in the nearly 14000-feet high mountains.
"Rajgal Valley is the toughest terrain in Pakistan's seven tribal regions," he said, adding that operation in another mountainous region "Shawal Valley" in North Waziristan will also be launched to deprive the militants from their hideouts there.
"International border with Afghanistan will be fully secured to check infiltration of terrorists and to destroy their hideouts on our side of the border," he went on to say.
He said Pakistan military has also requested the foreign and Afghan troops to increase monitoring in the border regions on Afghan side to stop the fleeing militants.
To a question General Ghafoor denied reports that Pakistan and Afghan forces will conduct joint operation under the monitoring of the American officials.
A group of 5-American senators, who visited Pakistan and Afghanistan this month, reportedly told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul that Pakistan army chief has agreed on joint operation with Afghan forces in the border regions.
"I want to clear that the understanding is that Pakistani and Afghan forces will conduct operations on their responsive border areas and both will coordinate to stop the movement of the fleeing terrorists," he further said.
He said due to effective security operation in the tribal belt, incidents of terrorism have reasonably been declined in the country.  He said the army and other law enforcement agencies have carried out 46 major operations since the launch of a major operation in February this year. - NNI

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