PESHAWAR, Nov 25: Claiming to have busted terrorist bases along the country's western borders, a top military commander on Thursday said that Pakistan had done its bit and it was now for Afghanistan to do more.

"Pakistan has done its bit. It is the other countries, especially Afghanistan, which need to do more," Corps Commander, Peshawar, Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain, told Dawn. Gen Safdar, whose troops are battling militants in South Waziristan, said that Pakistan had deployed 75,000 troops, including those manning the 700 check-posts and pickets along the borders with Afghanistan.

Referring to about 500-600 foreign fighters in the area, he said the ratio of Pakistani forces to these fighters came to about 150 soldiers to one foreign militant. Compared with this, he pointed out, the US and coalition forces had about 20,000 forces and even if they were to take on 5,000 'miscreants', the ratio came to about four soldiers to a 'miscreant.'

"I think what we have contributed to the global war on terrorism is unprecedented. The number of people that we have apprehended, terrorist (bases) that we have busted, the hierarchy of Al Qaeda whom we have apprehended, I think Pakistan has done its bit," Gen Safdar said.

The corps commander said he was often annoyed over assertions by Afghan officials that Pakistan should do more. "How could there be peaceful elections in Afghanistan if Pakistan had not deployed troops along its borders?" he asked.

He said Pakistani security forces had suffered 202 casualties whereas 467 others were injured in 42 operations against local and foreign militants since March. While 303 militants, half of them foreign, were killed to date, he added.

TERRORIST STRUCTURE: Gen Safdar said his troops had busted a terrorist training camp in Nano, the native village of the most wanted militant, Abdullah Mehsud, that was operating like a 'mini-general headquarters'.

"It was like a mini-GHQ. They had a directorate for financing, a directorate for recruiting, a directorate for psychological operations and a directorate for propaganda," he said.

He said the security forces had recovered a register that had hundreds of names of those who had undergone training and payments made out to them for different tasks. The names, he said, included those from local tribes as well as a few who belonged to banned militant outfits from Punjab.

"Had we not busted the training facility, it would have had a snowball effect on the whole of Pakistan," he remarked. Gen Safdar said he had information that funding for militants were coming from Al Qaeda.

"Funding is coming from Al Qaeda and people within the country. We know how much was brought here for the purchase of ammunition. We have got to freeze that funding," he stressed.

He said militants had very firm beliefs. "They felt that a lot of injustices have been done to Muslims in Iraq, Palestine and Iraq. They abhor foreign occupation. So we have to attack them intellectually."

The corps commander said his forces had busted almost all the terrorist bases in South Waziristan but refused to give any timeframe for the completion of the military operation.

"The area is totally cleared of terrorists; some portion is left where they are hiding and some new bases may come up. But they are on the run and we are going to chase them," he said. But he said that due to military operations the number of foreign militants was down from 500-600 to about 70-80, most of them Uzbeks, Tajiks and Chechens.

He acknowledged the presence of Uzbek militant Tahir Yaldashev in the tribal region but said that the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was moving between Pakistan and Afghanistan and it was difficult to keep track of him. "He is the most senior Al Qaeda leader in the region." The general denied the presence of Osama bin Laden in the region.

Opinion

Editorial

After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...
Slow start
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Slow start

Despite high attendance, the NA managed to pass only a single money bill during this period.
Sindh lawlessness
Updated 15 Jun, 2024

Sindh lawlessness

A recently released report describes the law and order situation in Karachi as “worryingly poor”.
Punjab budget
15 Jun, 2024

Punjab budget

PUNJAB’S budget for 2024-25 provides much fodder to those who believe that the increased provincial share from the...