Pakistan may launch army operation against Taliban this month: Asif

Khawaja Asif said the army will not hesitate in bombarding militants’ hideouts in tribal areas.


Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has said that a possible military operation against banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) may be launched in March

In an interview to foreign news agency Reuters, Khawaja Asif said the army will not show reluctance in bombarding militants’ hideouts in tribal areas.

Pakistan could launch a full-scale military operation against Pakistani Taliban insurgents in tribal areas near the Afghan border as early as this month, the defence minister said, warning insurgents against violating a ceasefire.

Khawaja Asif said the government would not hesitate to bomb militant hideouts or send forces into the tribal areas if the Pakistani Taliban did not abide by the ceasefire announced last weekend.

“It will not take months now. We will have to march in the month of March,” Asif said in the interview on Thursday, describing the government s response if insurgents persisted in their attacks despite the ceasefire.

“If there is a ceasefire, it has to be complete. Without that, we just can t afford to have talks with the Taliban.”

Pakistan worries that the end of the US combat mission in neighbouring Afghanistan this year could energise a resilient insurgency straddling their shared frontier.

“If in the post-withdrawal period, the Afghan Taliban become stronger and carve out an area of influence in the south and east of Afghanistan, which is next to our border – that’s a scenario we should even avoid thinking of,” Asif said.