At least 23 militants were killed when Pakistani jet fighters bombed their hideouts in the remote valley of Tirah in the Khyber Agency on Tuesday.
An official of the security forces said the jet fighters destroyed several hideouts of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) in the Dwatoi, Wacha Wona, Baragat and Takhtakai areas, adding that a large cache of arms and ammunition along, with ration depots of the militants, was also destroyed.
The militants of the TTP and LI moved the injured and the bodies to an undisclosed location in the valley.
Meanwhile, the clashes between the banned outfit Ansarul Islam (AI), TTP, LI and the Qamarkhel peace militia continued for the fifth consecutive day, in an attempt to gain control of the valley.
While talking to journalists, AI spokesperson Sadat Afridi claimed that during the clashes between the TTP and AI over the Khyber Sanghar check post, the AI fighters defeated the TTP. Afridi also claimed thaat they gunned down four captured TTP suicide bombers and destroyed several of their hideouts. On the other side, clashes between the LI and peace militia over the Zarha Kandao and Naray Pail check posts went on for the entire day. According reports from the area, the Qamarkhel have started negotiating with LI militants to leave the check posts.
The chief of the peace militia has stated that in the fight among the AI, LI and TTP they will remain impartial.
In the last four days of clashes, more than 80 TTP militants, seven LI, 28 AI and three volunteers of the Qamarkhel peace militia have been killed while more than 100 from all the groups have been injured.
Pakistani jet fighters also bombed the TTP hideouts in Orakzai Agency, killing eight militants, according to a security official.
Orakzai Agency is the second smallest agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) after Bajaur Agency and the only agency which has no border with war-hit Afghanistan. Previously, the agency was a stronghold of militants but in March 2010, security forces launched an operation to wipe out militancy from the area. Security officials claim that they have cleared 97% of the area.
Mortar attack injures four
Four members of a family were injured when a mortar shell fired from an unknown direction landed on a house in the Mishti area of the Orakzai Agency on Tuesday evening.
A security official said that a shell landed on the house of Khalil, in Hassanzai Darra, injuring him along with Jamshed and other two women inside. The mud house was destroyed. The injured were moved to a hospital in the Kalaya headquarters of Lower Orakzai Agency where doctors administered first aid to the women and admitted the men.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2013.