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Pakistan: 3,400 Militants, Nearly 500 Soldiers Die in Counterinsurgency Operation

  • Ayaz Gul

In undated photo, Pakistani troops have raided and searched suspected militant places in North Waziristan during Zarb-e-Azb counter-militancy operations.

In undated photo, Pakistani troops have raided and searched suspected militant places in North Waziristan during Zarb-e-Azb counter-militancy operations.

Pakistan's military said its counterinsurgency operation, Zarb-e-Azb, has killed 3,400 militants, adding that 488 soldiers were also lost in the campaign.

The army released the new figures Saturday of the major offensive that was launched in June 2014 against local and foreign militants entrenched in the North Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan and later extended to rest of the country.

Army spokesman Lt. General Asim Bajwa said that troops have achieved "phenomenal successes" and destroyed hundreds of militant hideouts "from where they were carrying out their terrorist activities."

Bajwa said the "last pockets" of militants close to the Afghan border are being cleared. He added the fighting has wounded more than 1,900 security personnel.

In an undated photo, Pakistani troops have raided and searched suspected militant places in North Waziristan and found weapons, ammunition, explosives and communication equipment during Zarb-e-Azb counter-militancy operations.

In an undated photo, Pakistani troops have raided and searched suspected militant places in North Waziristan and found weapons, ammunition, explosives and communication equipment during Zarb-e-Azb counter-militancy operations.

​"Terrorist's backbone broken. Main infrastructure dismantled. Nexus with sleeper cells largely disrupted. Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) continue to burst remaining sleeper cells," he added.

The spokesman said that security forces have so far carried out what he described as 13,200 intelligence based operations (IBOs) across Pakistan, killing 183 "hardcore terrorists" and arresting more than 21,000 suspects.

So far, there has been no way to independently verify the official claims, but army officials say the statistics of militant casualties are based on careful assessments using aviation and other technology during the counterinsurgency army actions in the Waziristan and adjoining areas.

Afghan officials said the Pakistani offensive has led to a surge in insurgent activities on their side of the border, though Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has termed them "unintended consequences."

North Waziristan is where Afghan Taliban and their staunch ally, the Haqqani network, have had their strongholds, and from where they were planing and launching cross border raids on NATO and Afghan forces.

But Pakistani officials say the militant infrastructure is no longer there because the ongoing army offensive has uprooted them.

In an undated photo, Pakistani troops are shown raiding and searching suspected militant places in North Waziristan during the so-called "Zarb-e-Azb" counter-militancy operations.

In an undated photo, Pakistani troops are shown raiding and searching suspected militant places in North Waziristan during the so-called "Zarb-e-Azb" counter-militancy operations.

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