ISLAMABAD: At least 40 militants were killed in fresh air raids on their hideouts in North Waziristan Agency, the military said on Wednesday.
‘Precision’ air strikes destroyed five terrorists’ hideouts as well as ammunition dumps in village Nawe Kili and Zaram Asar in an area north of Dattakhel, the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in updates on Operation Zarb-e-Azb that has been ongoing in North Waziristan. Many foreigners were among those killed in the air strikes, it added.
More than 1,000 suspected militants have been killed in the operation since its launch on June 15. Security officials claimed that the military had destroyed the ‘command and control infrastructure’ of terrorists in the region.
Protest lodged with Afghanistan
The fresh air blitz came a day after Pakistani forces repulsed a cross-border attack on a military outpost by terrorists from Afghanistan. On Wednesday, the Foreign Office lodged a strong protest with Kabul over what it called ‘physical attack’ that had left at least 11 terrorists and four soldiers dead.
Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said that 90-100 terrorists entered Pakistani territory from the recently established sanctuaries/safe havens across the border in Khost province of Afghanistan, opposite North Waziristan.
The attack was successfully repulsed by Pakistani troops inflicting casualties on the attackers who fled back to Afghanistan leaving behind bodies of their three colleagues. Four Pakistani soldiers also embraced ‘shahadat’ while repulsing the attack, she added.
While lodging the protest over the attack, the spokesperson said serious concerns were conveyed to the Afghan side on the developing threats from the recently established sanctuaries across the Durand Line in Khost and Paktika provinces.
It was reiterated that at a time when Pakistani authorities were undertaking a monumental effort against terrorists through Operation Zarb-e-Azb, all possible cooperation was expected from the Afghan side, who must take tangible steps to eliminate these sanctuaries/safe havens to avoid recurrence of such attacks.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2014.