Pakistani army chief reviews anti-Taliban operations (Lead, Changing dateline)

May 20th, 2009 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 20 (IANS) Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the anti-Taliban military operations in the northwest that have so far seen the elimination of over 1,000 militants.
“COAS (chief of army staff) presided over a high level meeting in General Headquarters to review the progress of ongoing operations. He appreciated the conduct of operations and high morale of troops,” an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.

“He stressed upon the need to provide relief to IDPs (internally displaced persons) through an aggressive management system,” the statement added.

The meeting was held immediately on Kayani’s return here from working visits to France, where he met President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Brussels, where he held discussions with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop.

The military had reported major success in its operations Tuesday with the wresting of two towns in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) from the Taliban.

The military said Maidan in Lower Dir and Matta in Swat had been cleared of militants and the civilians who had fled the fighting could now return home.

The security forces had gone into action April 26 after the Taliban violated a controversial peace accord with the NWFP government and moved south from their Swat headquarters to occupy the Buner district that is just 100 km from Islamabad.

The operations had initially begun in Lower Dir, the home district of Taliban-backed radical cleric Sufi Mohammad who had brokered the peace accord, and later spread to Buner and Swat.

The security forces’ action has seen nearly 1.5 million civilians fleeing the fighting. The Pakistani government has released Rs.1 billion for their relief and appealed for massive internal assistance in the effort.

The Pakistani army, meanwhile, has established a relief fund for the civilians displaced in the NWFP fighting.

“All those desirous may donate in Army’s Relief Fund for IDPs in Account Number. 0028010121825-8, Askari Commercial Bank Limited, General Headquarters Branch Rawalpindi,” an ISPR statement said.

“Donations can also be deposited in any branch of Askari Commercial Bank Limited, countrywise,” the statement added.

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