Scores of suspects were arrested as the police and security forces’ joint search and clean-up operation in Frontier Region (FR) Peshawar entered its second consecutive day on Friday.
Security forces have imposed a curfew in Sambi Khel, FR Peshawar and no one is allowed to leave their homes.
A local elder, requesting anonymity, said: “They have surrounded Sambi Khel village, which is a hub for militants in the area.”
He said all exit and entry points into FR Peshawar have been blocked and over four dozen people had been arrested during the two-day operation.
“The militants have disappeared into the mountainous area and there is almost no resistance on their part,” the elder claimed.
Heavy contingents of police remained deployed along the border between Peshawar and FR Peshawar while the local Adezai Peace Militia also provided assistance.
A police official said security forces had been tasked to completely eliminate militants from the region. He added the clean-up operation was expected to continue on Saturday (today) despite the hot weather creating problems for the forces and policemen alike.
“One of our policemen fell unconscious due to the intense heat,” he said.
He maintained, however, several militant bases had been destroyed and militants were on the run.
The operation began early Thursday morning with hundreds of troops along with helicopter gunships and heavy police contingents entering Sambi Khel area from Mattani. Later in the day, a gunfight erupted between two militants and both army and police personnel. The militants and Mattani police Assistant Sub-Inspector Daud Khan were killed in the shoot-out, while Frontier Constabulary constable Shah Zeb sustained injuries.
The operation was launched a day after a Frontier Constabulary check post was attacked on the border of the provincial capital and FR Peshawar. The attack killed six FC men and injured seven.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2013.
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