Pakistan regaining control over tribal region: US
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The Pakistan government is re-establishing its writ in the militancy-plagued the tribal areas and the North Waziristan offensive can bring peace to the entire region, senior US officials said on Thursday.
Pakistanis had deployed more than 125,000 troops in the tribal region near the Afghanistan border, strengthening its control there, US Assistant Secretary of Defence Kelly Magsamen told a congressional panel.
“But at the end of the day, the situation in Fata is really a long-term governance challenge for Pakistan, in addition to a security challenge,” she added. “So we’re encouraged by some of the steps they are making…”
More than 200 militants have been killed so far during the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb operation in Waziristan, including 23 on Thursday. The latest deaths occurred in Zartatangi mountain heights, east of Miranshah. Eight Uzbeks planting improvised explosive devices were killed by military snipers.
Ambassador James Dobbins, the US envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, warned the offensive would present challenges in the short term to Afghanistan as innocent civilian refugees and fighters might flee across the border.
“In the longer term, however, if the Pakistani authorities deliver on their promise to deny the use of their territory to all militant groups, foreign as well as domestic, this effort will significantly enhance security in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he explained
Senator Robert Menendez, who chairs the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations, called the operation “a long overdue move which indicates that their government is taking the threat from cross-border terrorist groups more seriously”.
Menendez observed the Pakistanis still worried about Washington’s commitment to staying in the region and were making judgments based on that. He said he still doubted if the Pakistanis were going to do much to the Haqqani network.
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