ISLAMABD - Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman is leading from the front by participating in airstrikes carried out against terrorists hiding in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan in the ‘decisive phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb’.

The air chief, along with a formation of the fighter aircraft, took off from a forward operating base of PAF on Friday.

Several militant hideouts and explosive depots have been destroyed during the recent air campaign.

The air chief also met with the air and ground crew and lauded their services for the nation. “He also appreciated their selfless devotion and morale while paying tribute to the iconic war veterans of PAF,” said a statement issued by the PAF.

Paying tributes to the iconic war veterans of PAF, the air chief reiterated his resolve to root out menace of terrorism from the country. Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman reiterated his resolve to root out menace of terrorism from the country, said the statement.

He said that PAF had played a decisive role in 1965 war and now was playing a key role in operation Zarb-e-Azb. “PAF will continue to prove in future that it is an efficient and hard-hitting air force second to none,” the statement concluded.

Pakistani troops have also pushed deeper into militant-held areas in the North Waziristan region, launching a ground offensive against the Pakistani Taliban and other Islamist fighters in their last strongholds near.

Since May, the military has stepped up operations in Shawal valley, which straddles the region of North and South Waziristan along the border with Afghanistan, and is dotted with militant bases. The Pakistan Army began a major campaign in North Waziristan in June last year and authorities have now vowed to intensify operations both in the border regions and across the country.

According Pakistan Army nearly 3,000 militants have been killed since the launch of Zarb-e- Azb in June last year. According to a statement issued by the military on the first anniversary of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, over 2,700 militants have been killed in combat while more than 350 security personnel also lost their lives while fighting terrorists.

The military claims to have cleansed most parts of the troubled agency of terrorists and successfully destroyed ‘terrorist sanctuaries’ and their command and control structure, while targeted operations are under way to eliminate some pockets of resistance near the border with Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of tribesmen displaced by fighting have also started returning to their homes.