Ground offensive initiated in Shawal, says ISPRPakistan
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army on Thursday said it had initiated ground operations to flush out terrorists from Shawal Valley, North Waziristan, according to a tweet from Major General Asim Bajwa – chief of the army's media wing.
Maj Gen Bajwa said Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had ordered the achievement of military objectives as soon as possible, and also commended the "ideal ground and air coordination" between the forces.
The announcement comes after the military pounded militant hideouts in Shawal via air force jets for almost a week, taking out dozens of terrorists and destroying ammunition dumps and hideouts.
Read: Blitz in North Waziristan, Khyber kills at least 65 'suspected militants'.
Since the terror attack that killed Punjab home minister Shuja Khanzada, the military has carried out multiple aerial strikes in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency.
In today's (Thursday) air raids, forces claimed to have killed 43 suspected militants.
The conflict zone of North Waziristan is off-limits to journalists making it difficult to verify the army's claims, including the number and identity of those killed.
The army says it is conducting the final phase of Operation Zarb-i-Azb to flush out Taliban terrorists from their remaining strongholds along the border with Afghanistan. The grand military operation in the North Waziristan tribal region was launched following a Taliban attack on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi in June 2014.
A large number of militants fleeing the operation in other parts of North Waziristan are believed to have taken refuge in the thickly-forested Shawal Valley, which is considered to be an Al Qaeda sanctuary.
Also read: Preliminary phase of Shawal operation successful: army.
Shawal has also been the focus of US drone attacks this year with multiple strikes hitting targets in the valley in which dozens of suspected militants were killed.
The army is believed to have killed close to 3,000 terrorists since it began Operation Zarb-i-Azb last year.