World Bulletin / News Desk
Pakistan military has launched a major anti-ISIL operation in its northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border, according to an army spokesman on Sunday.
The assault named Khyber 4 is part of an ongoing operation "Raddul-ul-Fasad" that was launched in Khyber agency tribal region -- one of the semi-autonomous tribal regions in Pakistan that borders neighboring Afghanistan, spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told a news conference in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
Pakistan air force will back the operation in Rajgal, a far-flung valley that sits on Pak-Afghan border, and which the army considers as one of the few strongholds of militants in the region, Ghafoor said.
Pakistan has launched several operations aimed at eliminating suspected terror groups from various parts of its tribal belt since 2014, including the Zarb-e-Azab (Strike of Sword) operation in North Waziristan tribal region.
The spokesman said Afghan military had been informed ahead of the latest anti-ISIL operation.
Last month, Pakistani army chief had called for a greater border coordination and security cooperation with Afghanistan to contain the brewing threat of ISIL.
In the past, Islamabad insisted ISIL had no presence on its soil, in response to Afghan claims that hundreds of Pakistani Taliban fighters were now loyal to ISIL.
ISIL, however, has claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks across Pakistan in recent months, including a suicide attack on a Sufi shrine in southern Sindh province earlier this year that killed over 80 people.
On June 4, Pakistan security forces had claimed killing over a dozen suspected ISIL fighters during a security operation in southwestern Balochistan province that was aimed at recovering a Chinese couple kidnapped by the terror group in May last.
The couple was later reportedly killed, according to a video posted on a pro-ISIL website.
Though fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan have sworn allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, experts say they are not directly controlled by the group.
They have also struggled to gain a foothold in the region, facing opposition from the Afghan Taliban, U.S. drone strikes and local population.
Official results of Iraq’s parliamentary election have been dogged by controversy and allegations of vote-rigging
Threat comes after EU announced 25 percent tariff on US products
Armed terrorists ‘neutralized’ in northern Iraqi region of Gara
Palestinians have been holding mass rallies near Gaza-Israel security fence since March 30
Police report states driver of car that killed pedestrian in Arizona was streaming television show
Decision follows Trump's pledge to end “war games” during Singapore summit
Conservative bill was widely expected to fail in the chamber
Washington urges Moscow to reign in ally amid offensive in de-escalation zone
‘Koko touched lives of millions as an icon for interspecies communication and empathy’, Gorilla Foundation says
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says they will look into strengthening transatlantic bond in summit next month
Administration to no longer require immediate legal proceedings for undocumented adults who cross illegally with children
Trump administration makes request following backlash over its immigration policy
President says he will take ‘preemptive’ action to halt the actions that have drawn widespread criticism
Al-Sadr’s Sairoon bloc fails to form governing coalition with Al-Wataniya, National Wisdom Movement