Pakistan in July 2017 launched the Khyber 4 operation to take down Daesh in the mountainous Rajgal Valley along the country’s northwestern border with Afghanistan. With air support, the operation aimed to curb the spread of Daesh influence in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), said Pakistani military spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor.
The operation, part of the broader Radd-ul-Fasaad counterterrorism campaign, aims first to secure the border near Rajgal Valley and then clear the rest of the area, Ghafoor said. Multiple terrorist organizations have safe havens in the area, according to the BBC, making it “the most critical area” in FATA, he said.
The regional Daesh branch, called Khorasan, consists mainly of former members of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, as well as splinter groups such as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Tehreek-i-Taliban, according to Dawn.
“There is no organized infrastructure, and we shall not allow them to establish themselves,” Ghafoor said. “We have to stop the influence spreading into Pakistani territory.”
Pakistan has informed Afghan authorities of its operations, urging them to take similar measures on their side of the border, according to The Associated Press. Ghafoor said he was hopeful of increased information sharing and cooperation with Afghan leadership.
Since the launch of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, Pakistan’s Army has launched more than 9,000 intelligence-based operations and established more than 1,700 checkpoints in coordination with police.
Pakistani Soldiers patrol near the Afghan border. REUTERS