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24 militants killed in tribal area strikes

Many hideouts destroyed in Tirah and Shawal vallies

By (Agencies)

Published: Mon 29 Jun 2015, 11:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:59 PM

Islamabad — At least 24 militants were killed on Sunday in airstrikes by the Pakistan armed forces conducted in the country’s Khyber Agency and North Waziristan tribal regions, media reports said.

Fourteen militants were killed in an air assault in Tirah Valley, Geo News reported citing sources.

Ten other militants were killed in airstrikes in North Waziristan’s Shawal Valley area, it said.

According to sources, six militants were injured in the air assault. Several militant hideouts were also destroyed, the report said. Two intelligence officials, who declined to be identified, said some militants were also killed in the Zoinari area of North Waziristan.

“We got information that local and foreign fighters were hiding in this area,” said one of the officials.  “Strikes were launched and militants were killed. Three hideouts were also completely destroyed.” The hard-line Taleban’s Pakistani wing used to control all of North Waziristan, a mountainous region that includes the Shawal Valley and runs along the Afghan border. But the Pakistani military has recaptured most of it, in an operation launched last June.

Nato forces had long urged Pakistan for such an offensive, saying Taleban safe havens in Pakistan were being used to attack Nato and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

Since last month, the military has stepped up operations in Shawal Valley, where the Taleban still operates freely.

The area is a stronghold of Khan “Sajna” Said, a leader of a Taleban faction whose name was added to a sanctions list of “specially designated global terrorists” by US authorities last year.

The Pakistani Taleban mainly fight against the government in Islamabad and are separate from, but allied with, the Afghan Taleban that ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s before being expelled in a US-led intervention.

Both groups send fighters against Afghanistan’s Western-backed government. Afghan officials have said the Pakistani army offensive has driven large numbers of fighters over the border, complicating the war in Afghanistan’s east and north.

The military says it has killed more than 2,700 militants since the launch of the offensive a year ago.

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