PESHAWAR: At least 45 suspected militants have been killed in air strikes and clashes in the Khyber tribal region, official sources said on Tuesday.
Around 10 suspected insurgents were killed and 20 wounded when helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts in different parts of the Bara sub-division of the Khyber Agency.
Officials said militant bases in the Shendrand, Nari Baba, Nagrosa and Sandana areas of Bara were destroyed in the blitz. Residents said the injured included women and children. Three vehicles and a house were also destroyed in the air raids, officials added.
Security forces also carried out an operation against Swati and Lashkar-e-Islam militants in the scenic Tirah Valley. Hideouts and a training centre of militants were bombed and 40 to 45 militants were killed.
Earlier on Monday, 35 alleged militants were killed by paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) and Khasadar Force in a joint operation in the Kalakhel area of Bara, close to the border of semi-tribal Darra Adamkhel region. Bara operation is completing its one year. Security forces launched operation “Bya Daraghlam” (Here I Come Again!) in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency against the Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam on September 1, 2009.
Another operation codenamed “Khwakh Ba De Shum” (I will teach you a lesson) was also launched in Bara. The Bara Bazaar area has been under curfew for the past one year.
Scores of people, including local tribesmen, security officials and militants have been killed and injured during the operation. However, the operation is yet to be completed as sporadic skirmishes between security forces and militants are reported in the area.
Meanwhile in the Swat Valley, five militants, among them high-profile Taliban commanders were killed in a cross-fire with security forces on Tuesday.
Militant leaders Abdullah and Dawa Khan along with three other suspected militants were killed at Mangaltan and Malam Jaba areas of Charbagh tehsil. A large amount of ammunition was recovered from the insurgents. (WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY IFTIKHAR FIRDOUS IN PESHAWAR AND FAZAL KHALIQ IN SWAT)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2010.
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