At least 39 militants were killed in clashes with security forces in Upper Orakzai on Thursday, security officials said.
According to the official sources, at least 24 militants and 11 others were injured during the clashes in Sarkikhel and Topy areas of Ghalju city, but security forces managed to take over the main town from the militants.
Ghalju, which is the headquarters of the Upper Orakzai Tehsil, is situated close to Mamumzai and Khadezai – two strongholds of militants in the region. The sources added that security forces cleared Ghaundagi, Muhsti Kundi, Daradar Mamazai and Sarkikhel of militant control.
Earlier, gunship helicopters also pounded militant hideouts in the Ghundagai and Khadezai areas of the agency where at least 15 militants were killed and 12 others were injured.
According to sources, huge amounts of foreign currency, night vision goggles, heavy weaponry including rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns, light and sub machine guns, telephone and walkie talkie sets were recovered from the hideouts during a search operation.
Sources also said that security forces are advancing towards Khedezai and Mamuzai.
Security forces had claimed to clear Lower Orakzai on April 12, which was followed by the announcement of victory on June 1 following the army chief’s visit to the region. However, ISPR later said that stabilisation operations will continue in the agency.
Meanwhile, around 100 militants have been arrested during the ongoing search operation in Peshawar, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said on Thursday.
The minister said that the militant network in Peshawar has been smashed and the search operation will be completed in a week.
He said that the government and security agencies have performed their duty by arresting terrorists and it was now up to the judiciary to punish them.
The minister also suggested that sustainable peace in the region can only be restored if the US, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Iran jointly devise a strategy, adding that otherwise the disturbed situation in Afghanistan will always affect peace in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd,