ISLAMABAD, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani military said Wednesday that security forces have cleared 80 percent of North Waziristan's headquarters Miranshah of Taliban militants and the militants' command and control system has been dismantled during the major offensive which started last month.
Operational commander, Major General Zafar Khan, told the media persons during a visit to North Waziristan that the security forces cannot seal the whole area however the militants who have fled the region would not be allowed to return.
The army's information wing had arranged the first trip for local and foreign journalists to North Waziristan since fighter jets started airstrikes as part of the major push on June 15. The forces also started ground offensive on June 30.
The operational commander said no time fame has been given to conclude the operation.
"It would be premature to say that the operation would be completed either in weeks or months," he said when asked when the whole area would be cleared of the militants.
"We understand that hundreds of thousands of people have been uprooted due to the operation however the whole nation will have to collectively bear the situation," he said.
The visiting journalists saw that several shopkeepers had left the shutters half-closed and it was witnessed that the people had been in a hurry to escape.
The commander said the Taliban had planted mines in the whole area that cause problems for the forces in movement. "Clearance of the landmines would take time," he said.
He said that evidence shows that there was also presence of Al- Qaeda in Miranshah.
The journalists were told that so far 100 hideouts of terrorists have been destroyed, while over 400 terrorists have been killed and 130 injured during the military operation. No civilian has so far been killed in the operation.
"The central command and control of terrorists has also been destroyed," he said.
The commander said North Waziristan was center of planning, logistic and communication for the terrorists.
He once again demanded the Afghan government to prevent entry of fleeing terrorists to Afghanistan.