Pak Army rebukes Taliban's claims of returning to South Waziristan

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London, June 25 (ANI): The Pakistan Army has rejected claims of the Taliban that it has once again returned to its stronghold in South Waziristan, but admitted that the extremist group was expanding its power in the Punjab province and also recoiling in the Federally Administered Tribal Area's Orakzai Agency.

Military spokesman General Athar Abbas said that the army was "firmly in control" in South Waziristan, which it claimed back from the militants in last December.

"There have been attacks on the army on the fringes of the region (South Waziristan). But there is no substances in reports that the militants have returned to South Waziristan," General Abbas told the BBC.

Earlier this week, a self-proclaimed spokesperson of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Azam Tariq, had claimed that militants have once again established their control over several areas around Ladha in the volatile tribal region.

"This is absolutely rubbish - there is no question of the militants returning," General Abbas said while responding to Tariq's statement.

Commenting on the recent terror activities in Punjab, he said extremists were definitely gaining ground in the province, but ruled out any Swat and Waziristan type military offensive in the region.

"The militants are definitely growing in strength in the region, but there are no 'no-go' areas in the province. The police and paramilitary forces have a strong presence there. There needs to be a political decision to crack down on the jihadi organisations," Abbas added. (ANI)

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