Op­er­a­tion Zarb-e-Azb in fi­nal stages: Ra­heel Sharif

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen­eral Ra­heel Sharif on Wed­nes­day vis­ited the front lines in Waziris­tan, where he di­rected op­er­a­tion com­man­ders to en­sure that ter­ror­ists re­main cut off from their "friends and their out­side sup­port," a state­ment re­leased by the army's media wing said.

"These en­e­mies of state and their fi­nanciers will not find a place in the coun­try and will ul­ti­mately meet their jus­ti­fied ends," said the army chief.

Re­view­ing the progress of on­go­ing oper­a­tions, Gen Sharif ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion over gains made by forces thus far and ap­pre­ci­ated the troops' high morale, which he said was at dis­play while they fought ter­ror­ists in the most rugged ter­rain, said the state­ment re­leased by In­ter Ser­vices Public Re­la­tions on Wed­nes­day.

Speak­ing to troops, the army chief said op­er­a­tion Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziris­tan was in its fi­nal stages, adding that re­main­ing ter­ror­ists had been squeezed into "penny pock­ets" that will also be cleared soon, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment. He said the suc­cesses of op­er­a­tion Zarb-i-Azb and the sac­ri­fices of our of­fi­cers and men have been ac­knowl­edged by the en­tire na­tion. Gen Sharif also over­saw strat­egy on fu­ture oper­a­tions, in­clud­ing the one planned in Shawal.

Mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion Zarb-i-Azb was launched in North Waziris­tan on June 15, 2014, fol­low­ing a brazen mil­i­tant at­tack on Karachi's in­ter­na­tional air­port and the fail­ure of peace talks be­tween the gov­ern­ment and Tehreek-i-Tal­iban Pak­istan (TTP) ne­go­tia­tors.

North Waziris­tan is one of the seven re­gions in Pak­istan's Fed­er­ally Ad­min­is­tered Tribal Ar­eas (Fata) gov­erned by tribal laws which is si­t­u­ated along the Pak-Afghan bor­der. Last month, the army said it is fi­nal­is­ing plans to launch the fi­nal phase of Op­er­a­tion Zarbi-Azb in mid-July to flush out Tal­iban ter­ror­ists from their re­main­ing strongholds along the bor­der with Afghanistan.

"Pre­lim­i­nary prepa­ra­tions for the fi­nal push have started, which will be­gin next month," a se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cial had told Dawn dur­ing a back­ground brief­ing on the eve of the first an­niver­sary of the com­mence­ment of Zarb-i-Azb. The fi­nal drive was planned in south of Dat­takhel to­wards the bor­der through the forested and moun­tain­ous Shawal Val­ley. Mean­while, se­cu­rity forces foiled a 'for­eign spon­sored gang's' terror bid to sabotage In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions in Karachi.

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