ISLAMABAD, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani Monday took part in an air operation against militants in the country's northwest, local TV channels reported. Kayani flew an F-16 fighter jet himself to hit positions of the militants in Swat and Malakand of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Kayani, who wore the uniform of a pilot, was accompanied by a co-pilot during the air operation. It is the first time in Pakistan's history that an army chief directly took part in an operation. Earlier, speaking at an operational base at Sargodha in the eastern Punjab province, Kayani said that the operation "Rahe Raast" (true path) in Swat and Malakand had been launched to guide the astray people to the right track.
He said that the operation was not a solution to the problem and a solution would be hammered out in accordance with the traditions and culture of the tribal area. He said that Pakistan did not require advice from anywhere. Describing it as an important war, the army chief said that the utmost care was being made to avoid civilian casualties in the operation. He said that more than 100 soldiers had lost their lives in the war but their sacrifices would not go in vain and the militants would completely be wiped out. Kayani said that some misguided elements had nothing to do with Islam and rather they were maligning the name of Islam and creating problems for the country. He said that salaries of troops engaged at the western borders were being enhanced from the first of next month while others would receive the benefit from January next year. Pakistani security forces launched the military operation against Taliban militants late April after militants in early April entered the Buner district from the neighboring Swat district and refused to vacate the area despite their pledge to do so.