ISLAMABAD (AP) - The Pakistani army declared victory Tuesday over the Taliban in one of their strongholds in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, saying the military operation in that region is finished.
The offensive in the Orakzai region came on the heels of a similar operation against the Pakistani Taliban militant network in the South Waziristan tribal area. Many of the militants in South Waziristan were believed to have fled to Orakzai, which lies farther north.
The army said civilians who have fled Orakzai could expect to return home soon. More than 200,000 people are believed to have poured out of the area since the end of last year, while officials have put the death toll of militants in the hundreds.
The announcement was part of a military statement describing a visit to Orakzai and neighboring Kurram tribal regions by the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
"(Kayani's) visit to Orakzai Agency marks the successful conclusion of operations in the agency," the statement said, adding, "He appreciated the professional conduct of the operation which has cleared the agency of terrorists."
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