MIR ALI: Pakistan Army has so far cleared 90 percent of North Wazirastan Agency (NWA) of terrorists and killed 1,198 terrorists and injured 356 during the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb launched in June this year.
“So far 2,708 square kilometer of area has been vacated while the remaining area would be cleared as early as possible,” Commander, Zarb-e-Azb Military Operation, Major General Zafar Ullah Khan said on Saturday.
He, however, said that the return of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) to their homes would be possible after removal of land mines and IEDs laid by the terrorists, which would take time.
“In an across the board military operation against foreign and local terrorists hiding in North Wazirastan, we have also made major recoveries of weapons, ammunition, explosives, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and their manufacturing facilities, he told reporters, who were especially flown to Mir Ali and Miranshah for a briefing held here.
Giving details of recoveries, he said that 6,752 rifles with 0.99 million ammunition, 2,470 sub-machine guns including snipers rifles with 0.67 million ammunition, 293 machine guns and light machine guns with 0.24 million ammunition and 111 guns (12.7 mm and 14.5 mm) with 0.25 million ammunition were recovered from different areas.
He said that 389 rocket launchers and recoilless rifles with 5,481 rockets, 68 mortars with 5,667 rounds, 3,821 hand grenades and 4,991 IEDs besides 132,000 kg explosive material were also recovered.
All these arms and ammunition were buried by the terrorists before fleecing the area as a result of massive military operation against them, he added.
Maj. Gen. Zafar Ullah Khan informed that IEDs manufacturing facilities, weapons and ammunition manufacturing facilities, caves, tunnels, underground hideouts, private jails and detention centers were also unearthed during the operation.
Pakistan Army, he said, has also inflicted a colossal loss to terrorists war economy to the tune of Rs 2.49 billion, adding the loss included amount spent on weapons, ammunition, infrastructure, prepared IEDs, explosive material and purchase of vehicles, motorcycles, communication equipment, etc.
While commenting on neutralization of terrorists' IED capability, he said that analysis of terrorists IEDs capability reveals that they could cause as many as 88,440 casualties through IEDs only.
Such capability could have enabled the terrorists to protract the conflict for another 14 years if only five IEDs were used every day in North Wazirastan, FATA or elsewhere in the country,he said.
Regarding own combat casualties, he informed that during the course of the operation, Pakistan Army has so far suffered a total
of 197 casualties.
Giving an overview of the operation, he said after the decision of Operation Zarb-e-Azb it was ensured that the terrorists are strangulated to seize initiative and liberty of move of terrorists away from objective zones.
As many as 250 strangulation posts and check points were deployed around major communication centers. Simultaneously, line Ghulam Khan – Miran Shah – Razmak was sealed to stop terrorists move to settled areas as part of national strategy for safeguarding against blow back in cities and towns, he added.
The military commander informed that after strangulation, phase of evacuation of TDPs was initiated, 18 check posts were established at main points.
Organized evacuation was ensured by allocating a particular date and time to a particular village/town, he said and added, all possible administrative assistance was provided at each check post and a total of 676,000 TDPs were evacuated.
Commenting on clearance phase, he said bulk of terrorists and their infrastructure was concentrated in core areas and clearance of these areas was completed in 52 days.
Consequent to this clearance, some terrorists relocated themselves to the peripheral and adjoining areas to offer continuous resistance.
Hence scope of operation was enhanced, terrorists were chased and clearance of peripheral areas commenced.
He strongly dispelled the impression that there were some good or bad terrorists, adding, the military operation is going on against all the terrorists whether they are local or foreigners.
Responding to a question about Afghan Government role in combatting terrorism, he said at present both Pakistan and Afghanistan governments are striving hard to enhance cooperation in this regard.
As goodwill gesture, Pakistan has returned 29 Afghan national arrested from this area to the Afghan authorities, he added.
The mediapersons were also taken to various facilities which remained under use of terrorists before military operation. A huge cache of arms and ammunition was also shown to the media. – SAMAA/APP