PESHAWAR: Security forces claimed to have killed at least 14 militants and injured eight others in Orakzai and Kurram tribal agencies on Saturday, sources said.
The clashes in the Orakzai Agency, where an operation is in progress since March 24 this year, came following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a security forces’ convoy, which left six soldiers dead, including a senior officer, and two others injured on Friday.
Security sources said that at least ten militants were killed when gunship helicopters targeted militant hideouts in Khadezi, Ali Khel and Daparkhel areas of the Upper Orakzai region.
At least eight militants were injured in the shelling, sources said. The attacks also destroyed two militant hideouts in the area.
In a separate incident, four militants were killed in shelling by security forces in central Kurram Agency.
Sources said that security forces pounded Karud and Mirandi areas of the tribal region, plagued by internecine sectarian strife and militancy. Local sources said that local tribesmen were leaving their homes for safer places, following shelling by security forces.
Elsewhere, in Chinargai area of central Kurram Agency local tribesmen killed a militant, after they caught him planting a bomb. The detainee’s identity could not be confirmed.
Meanwhile, security forces also claimed the arrest of an important militant in the Spin Thall area of Hangu district.
The militant was identified as Rehmatullah alias Pakistan Khan. Security sources said that two rocket launchers, one 12.7 gun, 10 submachine guns, four pistols and rounds were recovered from his possession. They said that the arrested militant was wanted by local police for drug trafficking and other charges besides militancy.
They said that prior to joining the militant ranks, Rehmatullah was a local gangster and after joining the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) he rose swiftly in its ranks and became a special guard of the TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud.
Kurram and Orakzai agencies share borders and have been caught in the grip of violence during the militancy. In Orakzai Agency a military operation is under way since March this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2010.