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National flag hoisted in Tirah

LANDI KOTAL, June 20: Security forces hoisted on Thursday the national flag at the historic Bagh Markaz in Tirah Valley, marking a wipe-out of militants from their stronghold.

A statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations said that the Bagh-Maidan area was cleared of militants after a successful operation by security forces.

“The task of cleansing Bagh-Maidan from terrorists has been successfully completed and forces have hoisted Pakistani flag atop the historic mosque at Bagh, which is commonly referred to as Bagh Markaz,” said the statement.

Some 50,000 residents of Bagh-Maidan and surrounding localities had to flee to safe locations after the Taliban took control on March 18.

Security forces had in the middle of last month launched an operation against the Taliban in areas under their unlawful occupation in Tirah. The operation ended with the takeover of the area by security forces.

Meanwhile, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Tirah Valley on Thursday.

He praised soldiers for swiftly evicting all militants, including foreigners, from the area. He appreciated their resolve, commitment and sacrifices made during operations.

Gen Kayani directed that all possible care must be taken to ensure that the area people did not suffer and displaced persons were rehabilitated as early as possible.

Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani, Commander of the Peshawar Corps, accompanied the army chief.

APP adds: The army chief inaugurated on Thursday a 50-km road from Wana, the main town of South Waziristan Agency, to Angoor Adda.

He said the army would maintain its presence in the area as long as people were not satisfied with the law and order situation.

Gen Kayani assured the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from South Waziristan Agency of military support and urged them to return to their homes.

He said projects relating to roads, electricity, education and health had been completed, but they would serve their purpose only after people returned to their areas.

He said nobody would indulge in terrorism if the tribal region prospered.

The army chief thanked the people of South Waziristan for their support in bringing peace to the region.

The project has been named after UAE ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The UAE ambassador also attended the inauguration ceremony.