Pak military: Anti Al-Qaeda operation progressing smoothly

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 18, IRNA -- Pakistan military has said that a major 
operation launched on Thursday in tribal belt to nab miscreants and 
foreign elements hiding in the border area is progressing smoothly. 
"The operation launched on March 18 is in continuation of the same 
and encompasses the government`s resolve to root out terrorism from 
its soil at all cost," a military statement said. 
"The operation commenced early morning comprises Para Military and 
regular Army troops. It is duly supported by requisite firepower." 
Having cordoned the area early morning, an announcement was made 
that all those who wanted to leave the area could do so by 8:30 am. 
This deadline was later extended to 10 a.m., the statement said. 
A number of civilians including women and children left the area 
and were shifted to safer places. Exchange of fire between the 
security forces and miscreant commenced thereafter which continues 
intermittently. "The operation is progressing smoothly," the 
statement concluded. 
It said the miscreants used the cover of civilian population and 
offered stiff resistance to the paramilitary troops of paramilitary 
Frontier Constabulary (FC). 
The paramilitary had launched a routine search operation in the 
same area on March 16 and encountered unexpected heavy opposition. 
"Constrained due to fear of collateral damage and loss of life to 
the innocent civilians, and accepting risk to their own life, the Para
Military troops did not use their firepower optimally. Resultantly the
FC took on the causality of themselves which included 15 dead and 22 
wounded," the statement said. 
"On the other hand, the miscreants suffered over 26 dead, which 
was confirmed through various sources. Most of them are believed to be
foreigners. Two dead bodies of miscreants brought by the FC have also 
been identified as foreigners." 
"In the process few vehicles of Para-military were destroyed due to
firing by the miscreants while the vehicles in which miscreants were 
trying to escape were also destroyed by the Para military troops," 
the statement concluded. 

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