Headed by the Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the two-day Corps Commanders Conference was summoned to review monthly progress on security arrangements in volatile regions, operational adjustments to be made accordingly, border coordination with the security forces across the border in FATA, as well as promotions to be given to Brigadier-rank Army officers on Friday.
According to sources, military’s operational preparedness in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with reference to the alleged cross-border attacks on military pickets from Afghan side in Upper and Lower Dir and Bajaur Agency was discussed, while security measures in FATA after the resumption of NATO supplies were extensively focussed upon as well as border coordination initiatives with the Afghan authorities and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) came under broad discussion.
Reportedly, COAS Kayani informed his associates of his recent visit to the Dir town in Upper Dir region where he had announced to keep the Army troops deployed till the area was cleared of militants.
The Army chief had also met tribal elders during his visit there.
To this effect, it was purportedly decided to strengthen the local jirga system and support peace lashkars (militias) by working in close coordination with the local tribal chieftains against local militant groups as well as those from across the border.
In pursuance of the decisions taken during the Corps Commanders Conference, operational adjustments are likely to be made for ensuring foolproof security to the NATO containers in FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Moreover, sources said, additional troops deployment is also likely in Bajaur Agency that has lately confronted cross-border incursions after Upper and Lower Dir.
As the commanders met to review security situation, Bajaur Agency witnessed a major militant attack in Kitkot area on Thursday allegedly from the Afghan side. As result of fierce gun-battle between the security forces and militants, some six miscreants were reportedly killed while military operation against them was said to have continued till the filing of this report.
Last Monday, six military men and an official of Punjab Police had lost their lives when unidentified miscreants had targeted them near Wazirabad at a bank of Ravi River. The incident, first ever in Wazirabad region of Gujranwala district—a garrison city, has pointed to the strength of militants commonly known as Punjabi Taliban while mounting the military’s concerns.
The military authorities have decided to enhance intelligence coordination with Punjab’s law-enforcement agencies to hunt down the miscreant elements without launching any direct military crackdown.
Moreover, fresh contingents of 19th Infantry Division would expectedly be sent to Bajaur Agency to augment the strength of Frontier Corps (FC) personnel deployed there to take on the cross-border incursions.
The military had followed the same strategy in Chitral and Upper Dir in September last year when regular troops were sent to both the districts to augment operational strength of the already deployed regular Army and FC troops following an increase in cross-border attacks from Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces. This followed the launch of a military operation that saw a complete halt in the Afghan militant attacks for nearly nine months till the alleged attacks from the other side of the border resurged last month.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 19th Infantry Division Major General Ghulam Qamar, Inspector General FC Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Major General Ghayur Mehmood and Director General Military Operations (MO) Major General Ishfaq Nadeem would work in liaison to command military offensive in Bajaur Agency and Upper Dir, it is further learnt. Ordinarily, the DG MO directly supervises the military operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.
Meanwhile, some 20 to 25 Pakistan Army Brigadiers are likely to be given promotions to Major General ranks.
Customarily, the Army officers of the same ranks in more or less the same number (20 to 25) get promoted in the Promotion Board meeting held during Corps Commanders Conference (on security progress) every year.