Pakistan launches offensive against IS near Afghan border

Army has ‘no direct role’ in Panama probe

The Pakistan army on Sunday announced to have launched a major operation Rajgal and Shawwal in the Khyber Agency to flush out Daesh militants attempting to take hold there.

Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor made the announcement while speaking in a press briefing.

"An operation to wipe out terrorists has been launched in Rajgal valley in Khyber Agency", Maj Gen Ghafoor said. He also couldn't resist a minor dig at Pakistan's troubled neighbor: "If the Afghan army were as capable as the Pakistan Army, then maybe the issue [of terrorism] would be resolved sooner", Ghafoor said. He said Rajgal Valley is the toughest terrain in FATA.

While ghafoor said that the IG has a strong network in Pakistan, however, said the military, the Islamists are strengthening their position in Afghanistan, although IG there is still not as powerful as in the middle East.

Major General Asif Ghafoor added that 500 families are forced to live away from their homes.

The army spokesperson also gave a country-wide breakdown of the operations taken as part of Operation Raddul Fasaad.

Pakistan's military says it has launched a major operation against so-called Islamic State (IS) in the north-western region along the Afghan border. In Sindh, 522 terrorists voluntarily surrendered while fifteen killed.

The operation is carried out against ISIS.

He hinted that another similar chunk called Shawal where concentration of terrorists was also reported, would be another target of the operation in the upcoming days.

He said operation RUF, launched on February 22 this year with the aim to clear the pockets and signatures of the terrorists inclusive of the abettors, financiers and facilitators to achieve enduring peace.

The situation along the Line of Control (LoC) has been "especially tense", Ghafoor said, with 580 ceasefire violations in this year alone.

Replying to a question on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav's case, DG ISPR said the army chief is reviewing the proceedings of the case and will take a decision on Jadhav's mercy appeal on merit. He assured that the decision of the Army Chief will be based on justice.

"No one wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan", the DG ISPR said, adding, "We need to bring peace in our country first". He said Afghan forces will have to strengthen its footprints on its soil to check the influence of terrorist outfits like DA'ISH.

Referring to the ongoing phase-1 of fencing the Pak- Afghan border, he said on average there is a fort or check post every 1.5 kilometres.

Incidents of terrorism in Pakistan have shown a drop over the three-year period from 2014-2017, he said. He clarified that Pakistan does not approve boots on ground of any country on its soil. "There is a coordinated and complementary operation on their respective sides of the border".

On the book by Raymond Davis, he told a questioner that there was a need to see that Raymond had been claimant of Diplomatic Immunity before leaving Pakistan but he wrote a book as a private contractor.

The army wants rule of law and constitution in the country, he responded to a question. "All operations are conducted by Pakistani security forces", he asserted.

Talking about the military courts, he said at present 40 cases are under process.

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