Days after the Pakistan government suspended peace talks with the Taliban over the killing of 23 troops, army chief Gen Raheel Sharif today said the armed forces were "battle hardened" and capable of countering any internal or external threat.
Sharif made the remarks during a visit to the Frontier Corps headquarters in the northwestern city of Peshawar. His visit came close on the heels of the execution of 23 Frontier Corps personnel by a Taliban faction.
"Let there be no doubt that Pakistan's armed forces are battle hardened and fully capable to counter any internal or external threat posed to the integrity and sovereignty of our beloved country," Sharif was quoted as saying by the military's media arm.
Recounting the successes of security forces in operations against terrorists, he lauded the efforts and determination of troops and law enforcement personnel who had cleared militancy-hit areas with the help of the entire country.
"We are fully prepared to confront any challenge in future as well," he said.
Appreciating the morale of the troops, Sharif said the country had acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by them as part of a "national effort to eliminate the scourge of terrorism". He assured the troops that these sacrifices will not go waste.
The army chief's remarks came a day after the air force carried out strikes on Taliban bases in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal regions, killing at least 40 militants.
The air strikes followed the government's decision to suspend a fledgling peace process with the banned Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan over the killing of the Frontier Corps personnel.
There is intense speculation that the military is in favour of a full-fledged operation against the Taliban but elements in the government and the opposition are not on the same page.