KHYBER AGENCY: Military airstrikes killed 12 militants holed up in the Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency on Tuesday.
Officials said the security forces with the help of fighter jets bombed several militant hideouts in scattered areas of the strategic valley near the Pak-Afghan border, killing at least 12 terrorists.
According to the Pakistan Army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the airstrikes were carried out in the early hours on Tuesday and a number of dens occupied by militants were destroyed.
Khyber Agency is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous regions governed by tribal laws. Militants are known to have established strongholds in these areas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.
The security forces have been engaged in a decisive military operation named Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan since June 15 last year. Two more military operations, Khyber-I and Khyber-II, were launched later in the mid of October 2014 in Khyber Agency.
Tuesday’s airstrikes came a day after at least seven soldiers were killed in a suicide blast triggered amid a fierce gunfight with militants which also left 19 terrorists dead in a region between North and South Waziristan tribal agencies.
The deadly attack took place when security forces were hunting down militants in the mountainous Peer Ghar area of Ladha tehsil in South Waziristan.
The ISPR said one terrorist detonated his suicide jacket after he was surrounded, resulting in the martyrdom of the seven soldiers.
According to the military, more than 2,000 terrorists have been killed and most parts of the troubled North Waziristan agency have been purged of militants, but pockets of resistance still remain. However, these tribal areas are remote and off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to verify the army’s claims such as the number and identity of those killed.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2015.