PESHAWAR, Sept 13: Security forces have captured 21 militants in a major military operation in North Waziristan, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain said on Tuesday.

The search operation, the biggest in North Waziristan, also yielded a huge cache of arms and ammunition, communication equipment and a remote-controlled Drone, he told a news briefing here.

The Chinese-made remote-piloted vehicle was used by militants to spy on army movements and positions in the region, the corps commander said.

He said the small aircraft had a wide-angle camera underneath its belly to take pictures of targets on the ground.

He showed to journalists sophisticated radio equipment used to transmit instructions to fighters in Afghanistan in Darri and Arabic.

He also showed a compact disc that, he said, contained information on positions of troops in the mountainous tribal region.

Also on display were hundreds of video CDs, training manuals in Arabic, instructions on how to make bombs and explosive devices and frequency modules.

There were also maps and handwritten notes in Russian, apparently for militants from Central Asian republics, passports, including one of a Jordanian national, and a suicide jacket with shoulder straps and trigger hooks.

“I can say it now with certainty that we have broken the back of Al Qaeda and terrorists in the entire tribal region. This was a place which served as an Al Qaeda base from where they would control and coordinate operations. We have destroyed the base. This is our contribution to the war on terrorism,” the commander said.

Lt-Gen Hussain said the action was taken after security forces intercepted certain documents during routine search at a checkpoint, including a message from a local cleric, Maulana Sadiq Noor, about procurement of ammunition for ‘jihad’ and possible military targets.

He said that one of those arrested was a relative of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam MNA from Miramshah, Maulana Nek Zaman.

He alleged that the MNA was indirectly involved in abetting terrorism and warned that appropriate legal action would be taken if more evidence was found against him.

Maulana Zaman denied that he was related to the accused, Sadiq Noor.

The commander said 21 people had been arrested during the ongoing military operations in Janikhel, Dandi Darpakhel and Mirali, many of them Afghans, including those involved in making improvised explosive devices.

He disclosed that a government employee had also been arrested but his name and designation would not be released until investigations were completed.

He said a stenographer of an administrative officer in Miramshah had been arrested for leaking sensitive information to militants.

He said another raid had been conducted on the Abu Shuaib Madressah, whose administrator Maulana Amir Hamza was in custody of the security forces.

JIHADIS’ 0FFICES: The corps commander acknowledge the existence of offices in Makin, South Waziristan, to recruit ‘mujahideen’ for ‘Jihad’ in Afghanistan but said that those belonged to tribal militant Abdullah Mehsud.

But, he said, the recruitment was aimed at creating a situation in the tribal region to ‘discredit’ Baitullah Mehsud, the overall commander of the mujahideen in South Waziristan, whom Lt-Gen Hussain called a ‘soldier of peace’. “Abdullah Mehsud is a thug. It is only a matter of time before he meets his fate.”

He avoided answering questions about mujahideen recruitment offices in Wana bazaar.

TARGET KILLINGS: The commander did not agree with the impression that incidents of target killings of pro-government tribesmen were increasing in South Waziristan.

He said that out of 58 incidents of so-called targeted killings, only eight were of pro-government or pro-army tribesmen. The rest, he claimed, had fallen prey to family or tribal feuds.

STRIKE: Clerical staff in the office of the political administration in Miramshah went on a strike on Tuesday to demand release of Moharrars Rasul Hakim and Haji Feroz, who have been taken into custody by security forces for leaking sensitive information to militants.

Opinion

Editorial

Reforming militants
24 Jul, 2024

Reforming militants

Such initiatives have been tried before, in Swat for instance, at centres run by the military as well as NGOs.
IPP debate
24 Jul, 2024

IPP debate

A FIERCE debate blaming the exorbitant electricity prices on expensive power purchase agreements with IPPs has been...
Political vendettas
24 Jul, 2024

Political vendettas

IT seems that the PML-N and PPP need to be reminded again that they are doing themselves a considerable disservice ...
Security concerns
23 Jul, 2024

Security concerns

All stakeholders want what is best for the country and its people; their differing approaches shouldn’t be viewed with such suspicion all the time.
Frankfurt vandalism
23 Jul, 2024

Frankfurt vandalism

THE state needs to seek serious answers from the German authorities regarding the July 20 mob attack targeting...
Stressed cotton economy
23 Jul, 2024

Stressed cotton economy

DECREASING cotton production should be a worry for the government because of its socioeconomic implications. Early...