BARA: At least 14 people were killed in air raids on militant hideouts in the remote Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency on Monday. Security forces, however, claimed that eight suspected militants were killed in air strikes.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) warplanes bombed two houses in the Malikdin Khel area of Tirah, killing 14 people, a political administration official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.
He added that the houses belonged to two local tribesmen Hunar Baz and Ashraf Khan, but refused to provide details. The warplanes fired two missiles at the houses, according to local sources. The conflicting accounts could not be verified independently as journalists have no access to the areas infested with militants.
Meanwhile, medics at Peshawar’s Hyatabad Medical Complex said on Monday that they have received 10 injured people.It wasn’t clear if the men were injured in the Tirah blitz. The Express Tribune tried to contact government officials – but either they did not respond to calls or simply refused to comment. Earlier on December 22, two militants were killed and as many injured in airstrike on their hideouts in Tirah Valley, which remains under the virtual control of a strange mix of militant groups.
Due to its strategic location, militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Islam, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Ansarul Islam, have carved out hideouts in the valley. Local tribesmen have little contact with the outside world due to its inaccessibility.
In North Waziristan Agency, nine bullet-riddled bodies of suspected Taliban fighters were found dumped by a roadside.
A security official said unidentified men killed the insurgents and dumped their bodies on a roadside in Peer Kaley village, 10 kilometres east of Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan. “No one knows who killed them,” the security official added.
The TTP claimed that the slain men were its fighters from Mehsud tribe and that they were killed by security forces. “Soon we will avenge these deaths,” TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan told journalists in a phone call from an undisclosed location.
(With additional reporting by our correspondents in Peshawar and Miramshah)
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2013.