Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Friday visited a region in the country's restive northwest where the Taliban recently beheaded 17 soldiers and pledged that troops would remain there till terrorists are defeated.

Kayani travelled to Panakot in Dir region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, where Pakistani Taliban fighters have carried out several cross-border attacks from bases in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military has urged US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan to curb the activities of these militants. A statement issued by the military said Kayani was "briefed about the latest situation at Dir, with particular emphasis on measures being adopted against the threat posed by miscreants operating from safe havens across the border".

Kayani "categorically stated that the army is committed to bringing peace and development" to the area. He "stressed that army units deployed there will not leave till terrorists are defeated and a smooth transition of responsibility to the civil administration takes place".

The Army Chief interacted with officers and soldiers and met local tribal elders and thanked them for their support. He called for an "enduring partnership between the army and the local population" for bringing complete normalcy to the area.

On June 24, Pakistani Taliban fighters based in Afghanistan sneaked across the border and attacked Pakistani troops. They reportedly captured and beheaded 17 soldiers.

The Taliban subsequently released a grisly video that showed the heads of the soldiers. The video contained an audio recording by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who said his fighters would continue to battle the Pakistan Army until the government stops supporting the US and enforces Shariah or Islamic law in the country.

(Agencies)

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