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Pakistani forces launch major offensive against terrorists in Khyber region
Last Updated: 2017-07-17 07:23 | Xinhua
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Pakistani security forces on Sunday launched a fresh major ground and air offensive in a rugged mountainous region to clear the area of the militants, the military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said.

General Ghafoor told a news conference that operation "Khyber-4" will be focused on Rajgal, a valley in Khyber tribal area, bordering Afghanistan where the militant groups still have some hideouts.

"As Rajgal valley is located in rugged mountains, the operation will be difficult, but we are confident that the security forces will succeed to clear the area," the military spokesman said.

He said the operation is aimed at breaking the contacts between Afghanistan-based Daesh (Islamic State) with Pakistani militants and stopping the Daesh militants from entering Pakistani areas from Afghanistan for terrorist activities.

Pakistani forces launched the operation a day after the U.S. defense department Pentagon said that the U.S. forces killed the Daesh regional leader Abu Sayed in a recent airstrike in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province.

"There is no organized infrastructure of Daesh in Pakistan, but the group is getting stronger in Afghanistan and the objective behind the operation is to check growing influence of Daesh on the Afghan side of the border," General Ghafoor further said.

He said Pakistan Air Force will provide air cover to the ground forces in the operation that will cover 250 square kilometer areas in the nearly 14000-feet high mountains.

"Rajgal Valley is the toughest terrain in Pakistan's seven tribal regions," he said, adding that operation in another mountainous region "Shawal Valley" in North Waziristan will also be launched to deprive the militants from their hideouts there.

"International border with Afghanistan will be fully secured to check infiltration of terrorists and to destroy their hideouts on our side of the border," he went on to say.

He said Pakistan military has also requested the foreign and Afghan troops to increase monitoring in the border regions on Afghan side to stop the fleeing militants.

Due to effective security operation in the tribal belt, incidents of terrorism have reasonably declined in the country, he said.

The army and other law enforcement agencies have carried out 46 major operations since the launch of a major operation in February, he added.

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