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Security forces regain hold of militantsí stronghold PDF Print E-mail

BAJAUR, Oct 25 (APP): The security forces have regained the control of Leosam, a stronghold of militants in Bajaur Agency, some 12 kilometer from Afghan border and blocked all movement of the militants in the Agency. Inspector General Frontier Corps Major General Tariq Khan told media team visiting Bajaur Agency Saturday that after stiff resistance, the security forces have retaken Leosam, a strategically important area, providing access to all four tehsils of Bajaur including Salarzai, Charmang, Mamund and Nawagai.

 

“After taking control of Leosam, we have succeeded in blocking all movements of militants in the area and now we are heading towards Nawagai, where, the operation would be launched if the militants offer resistance,” said the top official of the Frontier Corps.

Security forces started the operation on September 8 from Khar to secure area uptill Loesam. As many as 73 soldiers embraced shahadat and 239 were wounded. Reportedly about 1500 foreign and local militants have been killed including some important commanders.

He said sustainable efforts are needed to maintain peace in the area, adding that locals are supporting the security forces against militants and are yearning to see the return of peace in the area.

“My men feel supported by people of Pakistan,” said Major General Tariq Khan in the detailed presentation to newsmen on the situation in the area at Bajaur Scouts Camp which followed the visit to the forward area of Leosam and Tan Khata.

He said the government has evidence of the involvement of foreign hands as 300 foreign militants mainly from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have been arrested.

The ISPR spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas, who also accompanied the media team, said before the start of the operation by security forces, Bajaur Agency was in a state of lawlessness. Militants were constantly attacking security forces’ checkposts and had closed all roads for movement of Government/FC convoys.

“All Levies pickets in the Agency had been demolished by the militants and a parallel system of administration in Tehsil Mamund, Charmang and Salarzai had been established. Militants had taken control of schools in the Agency and had converted them into their centers. They had also established courts in which they use to award severe and capital punishments of beheading and killing of personnel in public,” he said.

The spokesperson said the militants in these areas were granting licenses for business and imposing taxes on people and transport.

He said during first eight months in 2008, they had killed as many as twelve Maliks, dozens of security personnel and also kidnapped many for ransom.

In this backdrop, he said, the security forces started operation codenamed “Sherdil” in Bajaur Agency to clear the area of the miscreants.

He said during last one and a half month, the security forces faced heavy resistance primarily as militants had support from across the border and due to involvement of foreign elements.

“The area was being used as a safe haven by foreign fighters, the militants had developed a strong trench and tunnel system of defence in populated areas like Loesam which also became a stronghold of resistance,” said the spokesman.

Regarding withdrawal of security forces from these areas, he said it is possible after restoration of peace establishment of government’s writ and reconstruction of these areas. He said after the withdrawal of security forces, Lashkars, consisting local volunteers, would replace them to maintain peace in the area.

 

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