As the military operation to clear the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and other terrorists from Pakistani soil enters what is predicted to be the final stage, experts warn the struggle could continue.
The Pakistan Air Force extensively bombed targets in the Shawal Valley, the last significant terrorist pocket in North Waziristan, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan where many terrorists are believed to have fled as a result of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, as the mission is known as.
According to a statement by the military’s Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) media branch, Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman met Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif to discuss the ongoing operation.
Sharif “vowed to eliminate terrorists even from the remotest pockets in the area at all cost” and was assured of “full support” by Aman, who has himself piloted F-16s during missions over the Shawal Valley.
The Army moved in last Thursday and encountered pockets of fierce resistance; Monday saw two casualties, Lt. Col. Faisal Malik and a sepoy/private whose full name was not given.
Brian Cloughley, author, analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, said the terrain is tough and favors the terrorists.