World Bulletin / News Desk
Frustrated by attacks on security forces and state installations, Pakistan's government abandoned peace talks with the Taliban on Sunday and announced a "decisive" operation has begun in the restive northwestern North Waziristan region.
A senior army official told Anadolu Agency, on condition of anonymity, that the army has entered Noth Waziristan's two major towns Mir Ali and Miramsha but that they are moving cautiously because rebels have planted bombs and landmines throughout the region.
Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters that an operation in North Waziristan was needed and would continue until the rebels were eliminated from the region.
"The government has taken the decision to launch operation in North Waziristan after consultation with all stake holders as a decisive war (against Taliban) has begun," said Asif, adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the plan at a national security committee meeting last week.
An operation in North Waziristan has long been demanded by the United States, who has described the region as the heartland of Pakistan's militancy.
"We gave enough time to talks, but even after trying for seven, eight times, there were no desired results," Asif said.
The Inter Services Public Relations, a mouthpiece for Pakistan's army, said in a press release that the operation had begun on government orders.
It said the operation is being carried out against local and foreign rebels who have used North Waziristan as a base for an rebellion against the state of Pakistan from North Waziristan.
The four-month long stop-start peace process began in January but has seemed doomed since the main Pakistani Taliban coalition - the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan - ended a 40-day ceasefire in April.
The TTP's brazen attack on Karachi airport last week, which killed 40 people including 10 attackers, compelled the government to officially abandon the peace process.
The country's security has been put on high alert with the army on stand-by to assist the police in containing any backlash against the operation.
Security and defense analysts believe the government will have a tough task in dealing with the operation, including a likely mass exodus from North Waziristan.
There are 160,000 registered internally displaced persons from operation-hit tribal areas, who have been living in shelter camps in poor conditions. Around 45,000 people have already left North Waziristan, including 6,000 to neighboring Afghanistan.
105 UZBEK FIGHTERS KILLED
At least 105 militants, mostly Uzbeks, have been killed after Pakistan army jets pounded suspected hideouts in different parts of troubled North Waziristan, according to army officials.
The aircraft struck eight militant hideouts in the towns of Boya, Dattakhel and Degan on Saturday, and a huge cache of arms and ammunition was also destroyed, reported the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), widely regarded as a mouthpiece for the Pakistan Army.
The air strikes were seen by observers as a tit-for-tat response to last week's attack on Karachi airport in which 30 people were killed.
Continuous air strikes in the region have led to a mass migration from the target areas, and about 40,000 Waziris now live in adjacent districts of Bannu, Karak, and Lakki Marwat, while about 6,000 Waziris have migrated to neighboring Afghanistan.
North Waziristan is regarded as a bastion of the powerful Haqqani network which has been blamed for carrying out attacks on foreign forces in neighboring Afghanistan.Last Mod: 16 Haziran 2014, 10:48