BEIJING: Pakistan army troops have “successfully completed” operations on treacherous terrain in the North Waziristan tribal region where the Pakistani Taliban militants and their foreign allies had established hideouts for years.
According to News Analysis’s report released by the Chinese media on Monday, hundreds of ground troops started their last phase of one of the most difficult operations in the forest-covered “Shawal Valley” in February and the country’s Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, visited the area on April 18, to personally praise the forces for this major achievement.
With this, the Pakistani Taliban militants are no longer a threat as most of them have either been eliminated or have fled across the border into Afghanistan, according to the officials.
The security forces now control most of the peaks and overlook all narrow routes to check the movement of the militants even those still hiding in inaccessible areas. The militants can no longer move to and from their mountainous hideouts as they are under the strict observation of the security forces.
On the ground, the army now controls all major towns including Miranshah and Mir Ali and all main roads in the region. Both towns had previously been under the ultimate control of the Pakistani Taliban groups.
It took less than two years for the army to clear most of the areas of the dreaded Taliban groups who had established their fiefdom in North Waziristan, one of the seven tribal regions of Pakistan.
The Pakistani Taliban and foreign groups, including Al-Qaeda, had been using the region as a training center for the suicide bombings carried out across Pakistan and even on the Afghan side of the border.
Most of the foreign militants had arrived in North Waziristan after the U.S. started military action against the Taliban in late 2001. They took advantage of the loose border control and absence of the Pakistan army at that time.
Many of the displaced people, who have returned to some areas, have also assured the army they would not allow armed militants to return to the region as militancy had badly affected their normal lives, culture and tribal traditions.
Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced during the operation against armed groups and now the security forces and local administration are focusing on their repatriation and rehabilitation.
The army is involved in the construction of schools, sports complexes and hospitals to develop the area as militancy had hindered all development work.