PESHAWAR: At least 31 militants, including would-be suicide bombers, were killed on Saturday when fighter jets pounded their hideouts in a militant-infested valley of Khyber Agency, the military said in a statement.
“Four terrorist hideouts and a suicide bomber training centre were destroyed in precise aerial strikes in Tirah Valley,” said the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). “Thirty-one terrorists, including some suicide bombers, were killed,” it added.
The military had launched an operation, codenamed Khyber-I, in Bara and Tirah Valley in mid-October to cleanse the region of Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam militants. Since then, the military claims to have killed over 200 militants and smashed their infrastructure. Officials also claim that around 300 militants from outlawed groups have surrendered to the security forces and political administration. Operation Khyber-I was launched to chase the militants who had fled Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan to seek shelter in Tirah Valley and Bara.
The military stepped up its offensives after the macabre massacre of 150 people, 134 of them children, in the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16. Senior government officials described the carnage as Pakistan’s own ‘mini 9/11’ and a game-changer in the fight against extremism.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2015.