Air force jets targeted and bombed militant hideouts in the deeply forested ravines of the Shawal Valley, which straddles the Pakistani region of North and South Waziristan along the border with Afghanistan, and is dotted with militant bases.
Aerial bombing on Wednesday destroyed four hideouts and killed 25 militants, military sources added.
This is the fourth consecutive day since the terror attack that killed Punjab home minister Shuja Khanzada that the military has carried out multiple aerial strikes in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency. With today’s air raids, forces have taken out over a hundred suspected militants since Sunday alone, destroying ammunition depots and hideouts.
The conflict zone of North Waziristan is off-limits to journalists making it difficult to verify the army’s claims, including the number and identity of those killed.
“We can hear bombs and constant shelling since Sunday, but we have not been instructed to leave the area,” a farmer Shadam Khan told Reuters.
“We just want them to specify a route for us to safely leave with our families before the army starts a full-fledged operation,” he said.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for one Taliban faction, said air strikes had not killed any militants.
Since the beginning of Operation Zarb-i-Azb in June 2014, militants have fled to other tribal regions, including Khyber and its Tirah Valley and Shawal in North Waziristan, all of which border Afghanistan.
In June this year, on the eve of the operation’s first anniversary, the army said it had eliminated 2,763 terrorists during the year. There has, however, been no explanation as to how this precise figure about militant casualties has been collected because a large number of them are said to have been killed in strikes by Pakistan Air Force jets.
At that time, officials had said another 218 terrorist had been killed in intelligence-based operations (IBOs) conducted in other parts of the country to prevent the feared backlash of Zarb-i-Azb. The IBOs are flaunted by the military as a major success story.
But, this has come at the cost of 347 troops and displacement of over a million people.
Sep 28, 2016 0
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