Develop multi-layered intelligence network in Shawal

IN a highly encouraging development, Pakistan Army has completed the most difficult combat operation in the last bastion of terrorists in Shawal valley in North Waziristan, which is being seen as an important development to take the on-going Zarb-e-Azb to a logical conclusion. The troops are reported to have cleared all areas of the region and severed links of terrorists with their abettors anywhere within and outside the country.
Armed forces deserve credit for their remarkable success in operation Zarb-e-Azb and especially in their offensive against terrorists in Shawal Valley as this was considered to be not only the last sanctuary of terrorists and militants fleeing from other areas of FATA in the face of operation but also very treacherous and dangerous because of dense forests and its proximity with Afghan border. However, it is satisfying that the troops completed the mission with minimum casualties and inflicted heavy losses on terrorists. Pakistan Air Force and Army Aviation carried out combined air strikes while ground forces hunted terrorists in the area. All this shows that the operation was meticulously designed and marvellously executed for which the nation salutes its soldiers. Army certainly did well but we may point out that because of closeness of the valley to Afghanistan and the fact that IS is also active in the neighbouring country, there is possibility of resurgence of the trouble in Shawal any time. Presently, there is concentration of troops in Shawal but it is understood that the strength would thin out in weeks and months to come and this might encourage terrorists to try to regain space there. With this in view, we would suggest that a multi-layered intelligence network may be developed in Shawal to guard against the possibility of return of terrorists. For this purpose, cooperation of the local population might also be sought besides presence of information gathering personnel in Shawal as well as other sensitive areas. There is also need to make the civil administration structure more elaborate and robust in the entire FATA region and hopefully Sartaj Aziz-led Committee would come out with its recommendations for reforms in the area at the earliest.

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