Pakistani premier pledges to continue operation
Iran Press TV
Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:50PM GMT
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has pledged to continue a military operation against militants in the country's northwestern tribal areas to its logical conclusion.
Sharif made the remarks in an address to the parliament on Monday, a day after the government ordered the comprehensive military operation to drive militants out of North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan.
Sharif said that pro-Taliban militants are still killing people, despite Pakistan's efforts to engage in peace talks with them.
'On one hand we were pursuing dialogue, and on the other we were being targeted. We were pursuing talks, but from Islamabad courts to Karachi airport we were attacked,' he stated.
'Despite the sacrifices of our soldiers, we gave peace talks first priority but our efforts were rendered in vain. This operation will be the start of a peaceful beginning of the country.'
The operation involves the air force, artillery, tanks and ground troops.
Officials say scores of militants have already been killed in airstrikes in the mountainous Dehgan area.
'Our valiant armed forces have been tasked to eliminate these terrorists regardless of hue and color, along with their sanctuaries,' the army said in a statement.
Among the dead is Abu Abdul Rehman al-Maani, a militant leader believed to have been one of the masterminds behind a recent deadly attack on Karachi airport.
On June 8, some 37 people were killed in an all-night siege by gunmen at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport. Pro-Taliban militants later claimed responsibility for the deadly incident.
A day later, militants carried out another attack on a training center outside the airport in Karachi. However, Pakistani security forces rushed to the scene and managed to promptly repulse the assault.
Pro-Taliban militants have carried out numerous attacks against security forces as well as civilians, and managed to spread their influence in various regions of the South Asian country, despite sporadic offensives by the Pakistani army.
Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan entered an alliance with the United States in the so-called war on terror. Also, more than 4,000 Pakistani police and soldiers have reportedly been killed so far.
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