The most successful operation in the history of Pakistan, Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched on 15thJune 2014 in North Waziristan. Alongside the Pakistan-Afghanistan border as a renewed effort against militancy in the wake of the 8th June attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, for which the TTP and the IMU claimed responsibility; it triggered the Pakistan army to take this bold step. Part of the war, North-West Pakistan had up to 30,000 Pakistani soldiers who have been a part of Zarb-e-Azb. It is described as a “comprehensive operation” to flush out all foreign and local militants seeking refuge in North Waziristan.
Inception of Operation Zarb-e-Azb
With full support of the Government, the Pakistan military launched a full scale military offence Zarb-e-Azb on 15th June 2014 with the staunch determination to wipe out hotbeds of militants in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). This is a strategically important agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan.
The facts released by the ISPR on the two year completion of the operation Zarb-e-azb are self-explanatory to manifest the success of the operation.
Over 4,000 square kilometers of land in North Waziristan, including the most treacherous and rugged terrain of Shawal, has been cleared of terrorists, which included 900 terrorists of proscribed militant organization Lashkar-e-Islam.
The valiant Pakistan Army successfully carried out 19000 Intelligence-based operations (IBOs) which were based on interrogation and lead generations.
Pakistan Army also seized around 243 tons of explosives, enough to make IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) for 17 years, shut down 7,500 bomb factories, and a total of 3500 terrorists were killed, wiped out 992 safe havens and sanctuaries of terrorists.
Our 4900 soldiers including 17 officers embraced sacred status of martyrdom, and over 2000 valiant Ghazis wounded during the past two years.
Victory for Peace
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif on two year successful completion of the operation Zarb-e-Azb, said “Pakistan is a safer place than it was before the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014”.
The Global terrorism index (GTI) 2015, complied by the international research group the Institute for Economics and Peace, analyses impact of terrorism on global community. The report conceded success of Zarb-e-Azb and stated Pakistan as the only country in the ten most impacted countries that saw a decline in deaths and accordingly it dropped from third to fourth.
In 2015, many security analysts agreed that the number of the Suicide attacks, Terrorists attacks and fatalities in terrorist attacks decreased in Pakistan with impressive numbers. The overall security situation improved and terrorist attacks in Pakistan dropped to a six-year low since 2008.
General Raheel Sharif has tried to change the narrative on terrorism and religious extremism and has taken a much tougher stance on these two issues. This also won him the kind of mass popularity no other army chief had received before.
The greatly improved security situation in Pakistan over the past few years is partly credited to General Sharif’s role as Chief of Army Staff and his prior role as the Inspector General for Training and Evaluation.