Surely, operation Zarb-e-Azb in the tribal areas – launched in 2014 under the supervision of the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif – is one of the most critical offensives in which our security forces have ever been engaged.
Many of the terror-hit areas of the tribal belt, particularly North Waziristan, are now believed to have been cleared of terrorists.
So far, more than 3,500 terrorists have been killed, more than 22,000 apprehended and more than 900 militant hideouts have been destroyed during the offensive, official sources told ARY News.
At least 513 Pakistani soldiers emerged as martyrs to the cause of the operation and over 1,950 suffered injuries. The higher number of casualties of the security personnel points to the intensity of confrontation in this most difficult battlefield.
“Due to this (Zarb-e-Azb), the nation regained peace that was snatched by terrorists and anti-state elements. Thanks to Allah, the back of terrorists has been broken and Insha Allah they will soon become part of the trash of history,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in his message on the completion of two years of the operation.
Visiting forward areas of the North and South Waziristan agencies on Tuesday in a bid to recognize courage, determination and sacrifices of Pakistani soldiers during the operation COAS said, “Zarb-e-Azb was launched against terrorists of all hues and colour and sanctuaries of terrorists have been dismantled without discrimination.”
“Operation Zarb-e-Azb is in its final stage in the fewer left out pockets. Pakistan Army with the support of the entire nation has achieved unparalleled successes in the fight against terrorism,” COAS General Sharif added in a statement released by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Pakistan heavily relies on the Operation Zarb-e-Azb since it has successfully secured many of the tribal belt areas previously believed to be strongholds of terrorists following a decline in the number of terror activities in other parts of the country.
“Be it the political differences or the religious or regional or provincial affiliations, this nation has all the capability to be above board, for the country’s defence, and Pakistan’s identity takes over all the identities,” the premier said.
During his recent Waziristan visit, the COAS did not forget to appreciate the immense support of the people in tribal areas in combating terrorism while acknowledging their sacrifices.
General Sharif assured the locals of the tribal belt that terrorists would never be allowed to return and stressed that the return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their rehabilitation work would complete by the end year 2016, said the ISPR statement.