Security forces claim to have killed a dozen suspected militants in a ‘sting operation’ in the volatile South Waziristan region – the former stronghold of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakeemullah Mehsud.
“A brief operation was conducted in the Sheen Warsak Road area, eight kilometres west of Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan Agency,” a senior security official told The Express Tribune.
“Acting on intelligence information, security forces raided a compound in the region,” he said. A firefight ensued in which 12 militants and four security personnel were killed, he added.
Local residents told The Express Tribune that the security forces had cordoned off the area early Saturday morning and blocked the Wana-Sheen Warsak Road, which leads to the Angor Adda area.
Hours later, the area resounded with intense firing, they added.
Although security forces have wrenched back control of large swathes of land in South Waziristan from Taliban militants, pockets of resistance remain in the rugged mountains of the region bordering Afghanistan and the North Waziristan Agency.
On Friday, an official of the paramilitary Frontier Corps and his son were killed when a bomb, concealed in a radio set, went off in Wana – a town where the decapitated bodies of two security officials were also found.
The situation in Orakzai tribal Agency also remains volatile.
On Saturday, three security personnel were killed and four injured in an attack by Taliban insurgents on a security check post.
“Dozens of heavily armed militants stormed Johar post in the Khadezai area of Orakazai on Friday night,” an official told The Express Tribune.
The troops manning the post put up a fight. “At least three of them were killed and five others were injured,” he said.
“The security forces also killed militants in a retaliatory action,” the official said but did not say how many.
The dead security personnel were identified as Saleem Khan, Rasheed and Amanullah. The injured were airlifted to Peshawar for treatment.
Warplanes have been sporadically targeting militant positions in upper Orakzai for over a year – and security forces claim to have killed dozens of militants in air raids and artillery fire.
However, due to its strategic location – Orakzai borders Khyber and Kurram agencies – Taliban militants continue to sneak in from the restive Khyber Agency where rival extremists group hold sway.
“It’s difficult to eliminate militancy from Orakzai unless its mountainous borders with Khyber and Kurram are plugged,” one official said.
Since Orakzai offers an important route to militants for their inter-agencies movement, insurgents have repeatedly mounted attacks on security check posts in the region.
The remote Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency remains in the control of rival extremist factions who are fighting each other for dominance. On Friday, a Taliban bomber targeted a mosque of rival Lashkar-e-Islam group, killing over a dozen worshippers.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2012.