Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Friday visited the restive North Waziristan region in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, described by US and Afghan officials as a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Kayani was briefed by officials in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, about "current operational and development activities being pursued by the army" and the local administration, said a statement from the military.

"While interacting with troops involved in the operation, the (army chief) lauded their sacrifices and efforts in fighting the menace of terrorism," the statement said.

On his arrival, Kayani was received by the Peshawar Corps Commander, Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani.

The US has been pressuring Pakistan to launch operations against groups based in North Waziristan, including the Haqqani network, which are blamed for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

Islamabad says its troops are stretched due to operations in other areas and it will decide the timing of any offensive in North Waziristan.

The CIA-operated drone campaign against militants in the tribal belt has focussed on North Waziristan, which has witnessed scores of missile strikes in the past few years.


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