Pakistan Army launches Khyber-4 operation

The volatile tribal areas along the Afghan border have often posed security problems for Pakistan. AGENCIES

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. "If splinter groups of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan try to jump on the Daesh bandwagon, we are already taking care of them, like through Operation Khyber-4", he said.

"As regards inside Afghanistan, yes, Daesh is getting stronger there, is gaining strength".

In the past, Islamabad insisted ISIL had no presence on its soil, in response to Afghan claims that hundreds of Pakistani Taliban fighters were now loyal to ISIL.

He clarified that carrying out joint operations by the security forces was meant to undertake offensive against the terrorists within their respective territorial jurisdictions by sharing intelligence reports with each other and sealing the border so that to check infiltration of terrorists from and to either side.

Hoping to secure the border unilaterally, he said the operation would not be easy in the area being mountainous and having tough terrain.

The DG ISPR said a follow-up operation, Khyber-4, has been launched in tribal areas.

He said about 500 native families of Rajgal had been living in other areas as Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) due to the presence of the terrorists.

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.

On Sunday, Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that the government has chose to defend every clause of the JIT report with complete proofs in the court.

Last month, Pakistani army chief had called for a greater border coordination and security cooperation with Afghanistan to contain the brewing threat of ISIL.

Pakistan has launched several operations aimed at eliminating suspected terror groups from various parts of its tribal belt since 2014, including the Zarb-e-Azab (Strike of Sword) operation in North Waziristan tribal region.

He said army has launched 46 major operations in the country and over 9,000 intelligence-based operations (IBOs) under Operation Raddul Fasaad. Current ceasefire violations have resulted in the highest number of civilian casualties than in the past, he said.

"All evidence and case proceedings are being examined by the army chief, and he will make a decision on the basis of merit and justice", he said. He said the security forces of Pakistan are very vigilant to foil enemies' designs against CPEC.

Highlighting the role of Pakistan Army in restoring writ of the state, he quoted Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa as saying "We are building peace in our country brick by brick; moving from relative stability towards an enduring peace".

"For this, the army should continue to perform its role with support of all other state institutions". General Asif Ghafoor, director general of Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations on Sunday.

He went on to say that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was constituted by the Supreme Court and the representatives of military institutions i.e. Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) worked honestly under the apex court's orders.

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