LONDON: There are no good or bad Taliban; they are all terrorists and the armed forces are going after them without discrimination, said Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa in an interview with the CNN on Monday night.
Bajwa told the CNN’s senior journalist Christiane Amanpour that the army had cleared a major part of North Waziristan of terrorists and militants during the Operation Zarb-e-Azb except for a small belt near the Pakistan-Afghan border.
He further said the operation against the militant groups was underway, with air and gunship helicopters striking their targets followed by ground operations.“I think there is no confusion in our mind that we have to go against the phenomenon of terrorism, against all terrorists, and their abettors,” he added. He asked the international community to stand by Pakistan in the war against terrorism.
When asked if the Pakistan Army was doing enough to tackle the issue of militancy in the region, he said: “We’re very clear and we are capable of dealing with them.”He also compared the performance and efficiency of Pakistan’s military with that of the US and Isaf forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Responding to another question about a change in Pakistan’s security situation following the Peshawar school massacre, Bajwa said: “There is a lot more security at the national level...there is a concept of security. That has been evolved and there is a review of security at every level. I think it is very difficult to guarantee that nothing of this kind happens anywhere in the world.”
The military spokesman cited the example of the recent attack in Paris and school shootouts that occur in the United States. He further said: “The whole nation has come together…You’ve seen the entire political leadership on one table and take certain decisions for the future of our country.”
Responding to a query about the establishment of military courts in the country, Gen. Bajwa said military courts were a stopgap arrangement adopted for two years. He said the criminal justice system was undergoing reform.
Talking about relations with Afghanistan, especially in the wake of the Peshawar attack, the top military spokesman said: “Relations were already on a positive trajectory, especially ever since we had a new government in Afghanistan. There has been growing cooperation. There has been growing understanding between the two countries.”
When the interviewer asked Gen Bajwa if the Pakistan Army was “up to” the task of fighting against the militants, he said it was an insult to question the capability of the Pakistan Army in the fight against terrorism.
“I would say this is an insult to the Pakistani people and the Pakistani forces if you ask this kind of question. I have said we’re very clear and we are capable of dealing with them,” he said.
The Pakistan Army has been fighting local and foreign terrorists in the country’s northwestern regions. The action escalated when the army launched Zarb-e-Azb operation in North Waziristan in June last year following a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport and failure of peace talks between the government and TTP negotiators.