Anita Joshua

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Army has claimed “successful conclusion'' of its anti-Taliban operations in the Kurram and Orakzai Agencies in the tribal belt between Afghanistan and Pakistan. To mark the wrapping up of the operations, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited the two agencies during the day.

Besides being briefed about the security situation in the two agencies that are part of the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies, General Kayani interacted with troops and met the tribal “masharan”.

During his meeting with the tribal elders on Tuesday, the COAS thanked them for their consistent and wholehearted support to the security forces. He also sought to assure them of an early return to normality and prosperity.

Offensive

The operations in Orakzai and Kurram began after the Army's concluded its offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan, and the past couple of months have seen an intensification of the airstrikes on the two tribal agencies with daily reports of terrorists being killed. However, since access to these tribal areas is restricted, there has been no independent verification with even international aid agencies having to go by information provided by local partners.

Though the Army declared the conclusion of the operation on Tuesday, reports of more militants being killed continued to trickle in a day after. According to the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations Athar Abbas minor clearance operations in the countryside would continue in the two agencies just like they did in South Waziristan.