Pak Army concludes campaign against Taliban in Orakazi

Pakistan Army on Tuesday concluded its campaign against Taliban fighters in the restive Orakzai tribal region bordering Afghan where some 1,000 militants killed.

Updated: Jun 01, 2010, 23:02 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Army on Tuesday concluded
its campaign against Taliban fighters in the restive Orakzai
tribal region bordering Afghanistan where some 1,000 militants
have been killed since the offensive was launched about two
months ago.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public
Relations said a visit to Orakzai Agency on Tuesday by army chief
Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani "marks the successful conclusion of
operations" in the region.

Kayani also visited the Kurram tribal region, which
has been rocked by sectarian clashes between Shia and Sunni
tribesmen over the past two years.

The fighting was exacerbated after Taliban fighters
infiltrated the region and began backing the Sunnis.

Kayani was briefed about the security situation in the
two tribal agencies by local military commanders.

He also interacted with troops and met tribal elders
who he thanked for "their consistent and wholehearted support
to the security forces".

The army chief reassured the tribal elders that the
"return of normalcy and prosperity to the area will be
ensured".

With the ending of operations in Orakzai Agency, the
return of people displaced by the fighting is "excepted to
start shortly", the statement said.

Kayani appreciated the "professional conduct of the
operation which...cleared (Orakzai) Agency of terrorists".

Observers believe that Pakistani troops will next move
into North Waziristan Agency, considered a stronghold of
Taliban and Al Qaida elements as well as militant groups that
are considered close to the military establishment.

The US has been pressuring Pakistan to begin
operations in North Waziristan since the recent botched car
bomb attack in New York by Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad.

Shahzad received bomb-making training in Waziristan
and American officials have said that Pakistan needs to take
action to prevent any further attacks on the US.

During the operations in Orakzai Agency, the security
forces made extensive use of artillery and air power to target
Taliban positions and hideouts.

Military officials have claimed that nearly 1,000
rebels have been killed in the region though the figure cannot
be independently confirmed as journalists are barred from the
conflict zone.

PTI