Pakistan’s major operation

Pakistan’s major operation
Pakistan's military has launched a major operation against Islamic State (IS) in the north-western region along the Afghan border. Militants had gained ground inside Afghanistan and had to be stopped from extending their influence. The spokesman for the military said, the "Khyber 4"..

Pakistan's military has launched a major operation against Islamic State (IS) in the north-western region along the Afghan border. Militants had gained ground inside Afghanistan and had to be stopped from extending their influence.

The spokesman for the military said, the "Khyber 4" operation, backed by the air force, would focus on the mountainous Rajgal Valley area in Khyber Agency.

Background

Pakistan military on August 2016, launched an offensive in the north western tribal region close to Afghan border to check and guard against militant movement along high mountains and in Khyber Agency.

The army also launched decisive operation called Khber-2, after Peshawar school attack in Khyber in July 2015.

Analysis

Pakistan has previously denied the presence of IS on its territory.

However, the growth of the group often referred to as Daesh in neighbouring Afghanistan, has alarmed Islamabad. The group has claimed credit for several attacks in Pakistan over the past two years.

Military spokesman Lt Gen Asif Ghafoor said, "this operation was necessary because Daesh is getting established there. We have to stop the influence spreading into Pakistani territory through the Rajgal Valley. There is no organised infrastructure and we shall not allow them to establish themselves.”

The operation would first secure the border near Rajgal Valley and forces would then clear the rest of the area.

IS announced the establishment of its Khorasan branch, a historical name for Afghanistan and the surrounding areas. It marked the first time that IS had officially spread outside the Arab world.

Assessment

Our assessment is that Pakistan has to demonstrate its commitment to the global community about its war with terrorist organisations. While it has been tacitly encouraging Taliban, they are quite worried about the presence of IS in the bordering area. The Taliban considers IS a threat to its own survival.

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