At least 24 militants were killed and 90 others injured in clashes with security forces in Orakzai agency early on Tuesday. A soldier was killed and nine other security personnel were also injured in the skirmishes.
Security sources said the clash took place in Aranga area of Upper Orakzai, when Taliban militants attacked a security checkpoint. The attack left security personnel Hidayatullah dead, while nine other security men were injured.
Security sources claim that at least 24 militants were killed and over 90 others injured when security forces responded to the attack.
They said security reinforcements also arrived in the area later and destroyed seven militant hideouts in Arhang and Zakhtun areas of Upper Orakzai. There were reports about arrests of an unspecified number of militants but the claim could not be verified by independent sources.
Sources said security forces were advancing in Gandital and Gall areas where clashes continued. However, no casualties have been reported.
Meanwhile, Hafiz Saeed, who claimed to be a Taliban spokesperson, called local reporters in Hangu and Orakzai and refuted reports regarding the death of militants. Saeed also claimed that 15 security personnel were killed and 30 others injured.
Tuesday’s clash broke a long-prevailing silence in Orakzai Agency, where an operation had been launched in March 2010 to clear the agency of militants. Security forces claimed that they had cleared most areas of militants except the Mamozai area in Upper Orakzai.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2011.