ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and other top security aides on Wednesday for a review of air strikes against suspected militant targets in tribal areas.

The meeting took place on the day Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar shared with the National Assembly outlines of the national security policy amid media reports that the army had been given an executive go-ahead for a full-scale operation to wipe out terrorist sanctuaries.

The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif‚ Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar‚ ISI Director General Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam and DG Military Operations Maj Gen Aamer Riaz.

The military started air strikes in tribal areas a week ago after suspension of peace talks with Taliban in the wake of TTP Mohmand claim of killing 23 kidnapped Frontier Corps soldiers.

PAF jets and army helicopter gunships hit militant hideouts in Mirali, Datta Khel, Shawal, Bobarh, Ghariom, Bara, Teerah and Thall.

According to military’s claims, over 100 terrorists have been killed in the strikes, but there are no reports of any major militant figure having been killed in the attacks.

The army has claimed that strikes were very effective, precise and successful.

Although there was no word on the future of strikes or whether a full-scale operation was being initiated, sources believe that the strikes will continue in coming days, their frequency and timing will, however, depend on available intelligence.

A source in Prime Minister Office claimed that a broader understanding between the political and military leadership on launching the operation had been reached.

The air strikes, he said, were a prelude to a full-scale operation.

In the meantime, the source claimed, the government was planning a strategy for settling people who could be displaced because of the operation.

Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, meanwhile, said: “With the backing of the nation, we will accomplish our mission of defeating every threat to our motherland in accordance with the expectation of the people of Pakistan.”

He was speaking after visiting Kotri Ranges to witness field firing and battle inoculation exercise of Karachi Corps.

A military spokesman said the drills were for “training troops in various tactical operations under battlefield environment”.

Fighter aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force and armoured vehicles of the Mechanised Division also took part in live firing manoeuvres.

Gen Sharif said: “Strenuous training and highest standard of preparedness in peacetime are the only guarantors of peace.

“Perpetual quest for modern techniques, seizing initiative from the enemy and mastery in battle procedures are essential for success in all kinds of military operations, whether conventional or unconventional.”

He asked troops to continue to focus on training and combat preparedness to respond to full spectrum of threat with speed and effectiveness.



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