PESHAWAR: At least 51 militants and four soldiers have been killed in air strikes and clashes with security forces in the restive northwest over the past week, officials said Sunday.
On Sunday, planes bombed a tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, killing 26 militants, a senior paramilitary official told AFP.
“Jet strikes today killed 26 militants and wounded 15 others and destroyed their seven hideouts in different areas of Upper Orakzai and Kurram,” the official said.
Separately, at least 25 militants and four soldiers were killed in Bara, Khyber Agency in gunfights between March 12 and 18, the official said.
“Four security forces personnel embraced martyrdom and 12 others were wounded in gunfights which left 25 militants dead,” he said.
The official said that no militant had been killed in custody and added that the military operation was directed at the militants belonging to the Taliban-linked Laskhar-e-Islam group that is led by warlord Mangal Bagh.
The group has been involved in recent suicide attacks and kidnapping in Peshawar, which borders Khyber, he said.
Two local intelligence officials confirmed the clashes and death toll.
Independent verification of the incident is not possible as access to the area is restricted by the military.
Some 18,000 people fled their homes in Khyber in October last year amid fears of a fresh outbreak of fighting between the army and militants linked to the Pakistani Taliban.
Pakistan’s seven tribal districts near the Afghan border are rife with homegrown insurgents and are strongholds of Taliban and al Qaeda operatives.
Militants have killed more than 4,800 people across Pakistan since government troops raided a mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.
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