Pakistani Army given full power against tribal militants

June 28th, 2008 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 28 (Xinhua) The Pakistani government has given the army full power to secure the northwestern city of Peshawar from a threatened attack by Taliban militants. Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has been given full authority in connection with the Peshawar operation and he could now decide on whatever he deemed fit, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar was quoted Saturday by Geo TV as saying.

Mukhtar said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, during a meeting with the army chief, authorized him to take whatever decisions were required for operations against the militants.

Meanwhile, security forces Saturday launched an offensive against Taliban militants who were threatening the North West Frontier Province capital.

The crackdown in the Khyber tribal region followed increased sightings of Taliban fighters in the city, where paramilitary soldiers set up bunkers in Hayatabad, a neighbourhood close to Khyber, and patrolled the streets in vehicles mounted with machine guns.

The historic Khyber Pass provides the main road link with Afghanistan. The region has long been known as a den for smugglers and criminals.

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