ISLAMABAD - Former ISPR DG Maj Gen (r) Athar Abbas has disclosed that the army was on the brink of launching a military offensive in North Waziristan three years ago, but the then army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was reluctant to do so.

In an interview with the BBC, Abbas said that the military leadership had given the go-ahead for an operation in North Waziristan in 2010, and preparations for it were made, but the move was pulled back at the last minute due to Gen Kayani’s indecisiveness.

“It had been decided in principle that preparations for the operation would take place between 2010 and 2011, and that it would be launched in 2011 to rid North Waziristan of extremists once and for all,” Abbas said.

When asked whether the reason behind his reluctance to give the final approval for the operation was due to his own weaknesses, Abbas agreed by saying ‘yes’.

“He was very reluctant when it came to the North Waziristan operation. Kayani thought the decision to launch the operation would reflect on his personality and people would take it as his personal decision, which is why he kept delaying the operation,” said the former DG ISPR.

Abbas further said that delay in launching the military offensive in North Waziristan has complicated matters as the militants have strengthened their position in the area and have also established contact with other terrorist groups.

According to him, the decision to launch the operation was taken after considering intelligence reports and consulting military officials posted in the area.