Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved army's plan to flush out Taliban militants from the strategic and difficult-to-access Shawal Valley tribal region which is considered to be the last bastion of terrorists in the northwest near the Afghan border.
The mountainous and thickly forested valley is divided into North Waziristan and South Waziristan where forces are fighting the militants.
The decision to dismantle Taliban's last stronghold was taken during a meeting Prime Minister Sharif had with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at the Premier's House today. The official statement issued after the meeting confirmed that during it “matters relating to internal and external security of the country came under discussion.”
Sources privy to the development said the two decided to launch the operation in Shawal Valley which would be the high-point of operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb' launched last June in North Waziristan to clear the area of Taliban militants. Shawal Valley is considered as the last sanctuary of militants after security forces cleared the Tirah Valley in the Khyber tribal district.
Tirah was the stronghold of rebel Mangal Bagh, a powerful ally of the Taliban, but he was forced to flee the region to Afghanistan after suffering heavy losses during the operations launched following the militant attack on the military school in Peshawar last December.
Officials said that Pakistan is hopeful to get support from Afghanistan to check the fleeing militants through the porous border.