Pakistani troops backed by jets and helicopter gunships have killed 40 militants near the Afghan border over the last three days, a Frontier Corps spokesperson said on Thursday.
Major Fazalur Rehman, a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps, said an operation against militants was launched on Monday in three villages in Mohmand Agency.
“They were attacking our soldiers from there but now we have cleared these villages (of militants),” he said. At least 40 militants and one soldier were killed in fighting.
There was no independent verification of the deaths. Rehman said the militants had fled to those villages to escape security crackdowns in other areas.
Brigadier Aftab Ahmad told AFP by telephone that his forces had destroyed 17 militant hideouts in the Baizai region under his command in the tribal area.
“Militants were regularly attacking our posts on the Afghanistan border at Shonkari and Mithai and also targeting goods vehicles going to Afghanistan,” he said.
Ghalanai is the main town in Mohmand, where security forces have recently stepped up raids on militant hideouts, as it faces American pressure to conduct a separate offensive against the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in North Waziristan. Maqsood Hussain, a government official in Baizai, confirmed the raids and casualties, but it was not immediately clear how officials reached the body count of 40.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2011.