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Iran Press TV

Pakistan army chief orders final phase of offensive against militants

Iran Press TV

Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:59PM

The chief of the Pakistani army staff ordered Wednesday the immediate launch of the last phase of a security operation to purge the remnants of terrorists from hideouts across the volatile tribal regions near the Afghan border.

Pakistani military said in a statement that General Raheel Sharif issued the order during a visit to North Waziristan.

The massive operation will be conducted along the restive border with Afghanistan as part of an ongoing major offensive to clear strongholds of the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.

While addressing Pakistani troops, General Sharif paid tribute to their resilience and sacrifice and commended their high state of morale. The chief of the army staff said sacrifices of soldiers will not be in vain and the ultimate goal of a terror-free Pakistan will be achieved.

The visit by the army chief comes a day after the Pakistani forces killed at least 15 militants and destroyed eight militant hideouts during a series of airstrikes in the Alwara, Khar Tangi and Maizer areas of North Waziristan's tribal region.

Pakistan has been carrying out a major offensive against militant hideouts across the troubled northwestern tribal regions since June 2014.

The operations were launched after a deadly raid on the Karachi International Airport ended the government's faltering peace talks with the pro-Taliban militants.

On December 16, 2014, a group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants mounted an attack against Peshawar's Army School, where more than 150 people, mostly children, were killed. The massacre shocked and outraged the country already scarred by nearly a decade of violence.

According to Pakistani officials, more than 3,100 pro-Taliban militants have been killed since the army intensified military operations following the school massacre. The military claims it has now cleared 90 percent of the region.

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