Pak to launch fresh offensive against terrorists in Khyber
Islamabad: Pakistan will launch a fresh offensive against terrorists in the restive Khyber tribal region near Afghan border next month where security forces are battling Taliban and other insurgents, media reported today.
The new operation, Khyber-2, has been planned to completely destroy the militants’ network after the success of Khyber-1 which was launched last year, Dawn reported.
Commandant of the Khyber Rifles Colonel Tariq Hafeez said Khyber-2 military operation would target Taliban and other terrorist groups hiding in the Tirah valley.
He pledged that security forces would now reclaim all areas at present under the control of several outlawed militant groups in Khyber agency and the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
“We will not spare anyone and will go after them no matter where they are hiding and will smash their operational structure to reduce their striking capability,” he said.
Hafeez said with the arrest of 25 hardcore terrorists, security forces have achieved much of the objectives of the Khyber-1 operation.
He said security forces were now determined to annihilate all anti-state elements operating on Pakistan’s soil.
A new computerised screening system would be installed at the Torkhum border in March to maintain a scientific data of all those going to and coming from Afghanistan, Hafeez said.
Khyber is key region as it borders Peshawar and sits on the key road linking Pakistan to Afghanistan. The militants who had carried out the horrific Peshawar school attack were also said to have come from this region.
Operation ‘Zarb-i-Azb’, launched by Pakistan army in June last year in North Waziristan achieved major successes while Operation Khyber-1 in Khyber tribal region was being carried out successfully.
Besides, targeted action against militants is going on in all over the country and 176 ‘hardcore’ terrorists have been killed since December 16 school attack in 1,942 intelligence- based operations.
The military says it has killed more than 2,000 militants since the offensives were launched.
Pakistan had begun a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from North Waziristan after a bloody Taliban attack on Karachi airport. Air strikes, artillery, mortars and ground troops were all used to take back territory.
The semi-autonomous tribal region on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for militants including the Pakistani Taliban.