Islamabad: Pakistani military killed 252 terrorists over the past two months and cleared more areas in the remote mountainous North Waziristan region in the final phase of the major offensive, it was officially disclosed on Sunday.
Hundreds of troops, backed by fighter jets, have been chasing the remaining militants in Shawal Valley where they are hiding, the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement.
“During the last phase of operation in Shawal, 252 terrorists have been killed, and reportedly 160 were severely injured. In the last two months, valiantly fighting in Shawal, eight soldiers of the Pakistan Army embraced shahadat (martyrdom) while 39 injured,” the statement said.
The statement issued by the ISPR spokesman said that major terrorist hubs of Mana, Gurbaz, Lataka, Inzarkas and Magrotai have been cleared.
“The battle to clear last pocket close to Pakistan-Afghan border continues. The ongoing operation is being conducted in extremely hostile terrain and harsh weather conditions,” the statement said, adding that the Shawal heights were fully covered with snow and visibility was very poor on the mountains.
The security forces have cleared all heights over 9,000 feet, while the terrorist camps were destroyed and huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered.
“Since the launch of the last phase in February 2016, army troops have been fighting valiantly and have cleared 640 square km of Shawal area,” the spokesman said.
During the last phase of Zarb-e-Azb, return of Temporarily Displaced Persons was progressing according to plan, as 37,012 families in North Waziristan Agency -36 percent of such persons -have returned to their homes, the statement added.
Military operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in North Waziristan nearly two years ago after a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport and the failure of peace talks between the government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan negotiators.
The number of attacks in Pakistan has fallen around 70 percent, due to a combination of the military offensive against Taliban bases along the Afghan border and government initiatives to tackle militancy, recent reports have revealed.