Military

Pak forces achieve "major objectives" in tribal area operation

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 29, IRNA -- The Pakistan government has wounded up 
its operation in Kaloosha South Waziristan region, saying it has 
achieved its "major objectives." 
Launched about two weeks back in the tribal belt bordering 
Afghanistan, the operation will continue in other parts to ensure no 
terrorist remains in the area, government officials maintain. 
The operation was launched in the wake of reports on the presence 
of some 500-600 foreign Al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects and their local 
harborers. 
In a news briefing on Sunday, a top official said that 11 out of 
14 hostages had been released besides other objectives achieved. The 
three others were expected to be released on Monday by the terrorists.
However, elsewhere in the region, the army and paramilitary forces
would keep a strict vigil. 
President General Pervez Musharraf said last week that the 
operation would continue until the last terrorist was flushed out 
from the tribal areas. He said remaining terrorists would continue to 
indulge in terrorist activities and take shelter in tribal areas. 
He added that the two attempts on his life in recent months were 
also masterminded by Al-Qaeda terrorists. 
Some reports say that after the fall of the Taliban regime, scores
of terrorists from Al-Qaeda and Taliban fled to the tribal areas of 
Pakistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan share a 2500-kilometer rugged 
border. 
Some 70,000 troops have been reportedly deployed along the border 
on the Pakistani side, while on the other side Afghan and US forces 
are in operation against the suspected elements. 
The government said that several terrorists had been killed and 
dozens others arrested during the operation, which had the support of 
assault helicopters. 
Rejecting the opposition`s criticism, the government said that 
had the operation not been launched, outside forces would have taken 
the initiative to meddle in Pakistan`s internal affairs in order to 
take on the terrorists on their own. 
MHA/TSH/LS/210 
End 



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