ISIS Fighters Afghanistan
claiming to represent a group called the Islamic Organization of
Great Afghanistan, which they say is ready to fight for

Radio Free Afghanistan/ Radio
Free Europe Radio Liberty

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s military has launched a major
operation in its volatile tribal areas to stop the Islamic State
making inroads into areas bordering Afghanistan, the military’s
spokesman said on Sunday.

Pakistan has long denied Islamic State has a foothold inside the
nuclear-armed nation despite a series of attacks claimed by the
group over the past two years, including a bombing in the
northern town of Parachinar last month that killed 75.

Military spokesman Lieutenant General Asif Ghafoor said Islamic
State — also known as Daesh — was growing in strength inside
Afghanistan, prompting Pakistan to launch an operation in
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

“This operation was necessary because Daesh is getting
established there and we have to stop the influence of Daesh
spreading into Pakistani territory through the Rajgal valley,”
Ghafoor said, referring to a valley surrounded by mountains
reaching up to 14,000 feet.

He said that the “Khyber 4” operation, which would include the
Pakistan air force, would focus on the border areas inside the
Khyber Agency area, which is part of FATA.

Ghafoor said across the Khyber border there are safe havens for
multiple “terrorist” organizations that are linked to recent
attacks in Pakistan, including the Parachinar assault.

Pakistani soldiers stand guard as people, who fled the military offensive against militants in North Waziristan, receive food supply from the army in Bannu, in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province July 2, 2014.   REUTERS/Haji Mujtaba
soldiers stand guard as people who fled the military offensive
against militants in North Waziristan, receive food supply from
the army in Bannu, in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province,
July 2, 2014.


Northwestern Pakistan’s ethnic Pashtun lands are awash with
weapons and the area remains the most volatile region in the
country despite the military’s success in driving out many al
Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban militants.

Fighting had subsided in FATA in recent years and many internally
displaced people have been sent back to villages reduced to
rubble due to military operations against the Islamists over the
past 15 years.

“Once this operation is completed, we will first secure the
international border on our side and eliminate the hideouts of
various terrorist groups,” Ghafoor added.

Islamic State has had more success in neighboring Afghanistan,
where it controls small chunks of land, but has also faced tough
resistance from the U.S.-backed government in Kabul and local
Afghan Taliban militants.

Pakistan is seeking support from Afghanistan to control the
border but Ghafoor made it clear that it will not allow “foreign
boots on the ground” in its territory.

Pakistan’s military began building a fence along the 2,611
kilometer border with Afghanistan in May as part of its security

(Reporting by Saad Sayeed; editing by Susan Thomas)

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