PESHAWAR, 4 September: The federal government has said that the Pakistan Army will stay in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) till 2019.

Chairman of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence Sheikh Rohail Asghar told media persons after the committee meeting in Islamabad on Thursday that Operation Zarb-e-Azb has been going on in North Waziristan successfully and 3,500 militants have been killed in the offensive so far. He said a large number of militant hideouts and arms depots have also been destroyed during the operation. Mr Rohail said 300 officers and soldiers of the Pakistan Army have also lost their lives in the operation.

The defence committee head said Operation Zarb-e-Azb has entered final stage in Shawal valley of North Waziristan and the military has cleared most of the area from militants. He said the military will stay in the Pak-Afghan border areas till 2019 to block the entry of militants into Pakistan from Afghan side. He said some militants have fled to Afghanistan, while others have joined Daesh militant group. He said several abettors of militants have also been arrested during various operations.

Mr Rohail said about 64,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) of FATA have returned to their native areas.

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