2,000 "militants" in ongoing Pakistan army operations
Pakistan's army has killed around 2,000 suspected militants in ongoing operations in the country’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt since June 15.
According to Pakistan’s defense secretary Lt General Alam Khattak, 199 soldiers have also lost their lives in landmine blasts and clashes with Taliban militants in North Waziristan, Khyber Agency, and other tribal regions during this period.
Khattak presented the official statistics at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday to review the military operation's progress.
He said that most of the militants and troops have been killed in troubled North Waziristan, where the operations were initially launched.
There are no independent sources to verify the government figures as there has been a complete ban on media access to the operation-hit areas.
The Pakistan army launched the large-scale operation Zarb-e-Azb, or strike of the sword, to eliminate the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militant coaltiion after the breakdown of peace talks between the Taliban and government.
The army managed to clear major North Waziristan towns, including its administrative headquarters Miranshah and Mir Ali town immediately.
The fleeing militants however, found new strongholds in adjoining tribal areas like Khyber Agency, forcing the army to shift its focus from North Waziristan to those areas. The army launched yet another operation, named "Khyber One”, in mid-October in Khyber Agency to root out the Taliban-linked Lashkar-e-Islam group.
The government forces have broadened their operations to several large and small towns after a Taliban massacre of 134 children at a school in the city of Peshawar on December 16. They have arrested over 300 people on suspicion of having links with the Taliban and other banned militant outfits.
The ongoing operations have caused a wholesale migration, mainly from North Waziristan and Khyber Agency, with more than 1.5 million people displaced.
Last Modified: 2014-12-30 16:04:37
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