THE tribal zone of Pakistan needs $1 billion in development funding from the international community to avoid it relapsing into a base for Al-Qaeda, the commander of Frontier Corps said. Major General Tariq Khan told the Guardian on Thursday that combat operations to clear Taliban and Al-Qaeda extremists from the tribal belt, including North Waziristan, would be completed by May. Five of the seven 'agencies in the zone - known as the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) - are now under control, he said, with operations still under way in only Orakzai and North Waziristan areas. He said that, once the region had been pacified, it must not be neglected by the international community as it was after the late 1980s Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. We need $1b to bring stability to a land that caused pain to the entire world, and we saw that impact ultimately on the Twin Towers in the US, Khan said. Everybody left an open wound here. They never concluded the war. The world needs to pay up for it. Theres an obligation. Thats not a lot of money to pacify a region that is the cause of global conflict. The $1b would be spent repairing damage to roads, schools and other infrastructure, building new facilities to provide health and education for the population and developing agriculture and industry. Confirming that an offensive in North Waziristan had begun - there was no official announcement - Khan said that, unlike the operation in South Waziristan last year, which involved around 25,000 troops, it would consist of smaller initiatives. I think the kind of operations theyre going to do (in North Waziristan) are going to be progressive, he said. Theyre going to squeeze them (militants) out of areas, rather than carry out hardcore kinetic operations. They are going to be incremental. After the combat phase of operations, troops plan to search every home for links to extremists and to pursue the remnants of the Pakistani Taliban leadership, Khan said. The Frontier Corps, which recruits exclusively from the tribal areas it guards, launched an operation in Orakzai last week. Around 200 militants are reported to have been killed.