PESHAWAR - Security forces Saturday claimed of killing dozens of foreign as well as local militants and destroying several of their hideous in a massive ongoing offensive in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
Pakistan Air Force jets bombed militant hideouts while ground troops used heavy artillery in Miranshah, the main town of NWA, and Boya village after shots were fired at troops, according to an ISPR statement.
The statement said stiff resistance was expected in some villages in the downtowns of Miranshah area as militants have planted land mines there which claimed life of one soldier on Saturday morning.
“Five terrorist hideouts, caves and huge cache of arms and ammunition were destroyed and scores of terrorists killed in early morning strikes, silencing the firers,” it said. “Most of the terrorists killed in strikes were Uzbeks,” the statement added without providing casualty figures.
A soldier identified Nike Fayaz Mohammad embraced martyrdom when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded during search and clearance operation in the morning. His funeral prayers were offered in Bannu after which the body was dispatched to his village in Mansehra where he was laid to rest.
Security forces are busy in clearing streets and roads of the fencing devices, which pose real threat to security forces as well as civilians however the process of clearing the landmines and other such devices is a taxing job. But ISPR said they would soon clear the area in an around Miranshah and declare it cleared.
So far more than 400 suspected militants, mostly foreigners, have been killed during the operation while at least 19 IED making factories have also been unearthed by security forces in parts of Miranshah. Insiders said most of the houses in Miranshah contained IEDs and most of the roads in the area were planted with explosives and landmines. The security forces have declared Mirali clear of militants and their advancement in other areas continues.
A senior officer claimed that foreign fighters of all origins had made the locals hostage in the area. He added that during search operations security forces recovered literature and flags of different international militant organisations, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Uighurs etc. Literature in unknown languages was also found during search operations, said the officer.
More than 500,000 people have fled the area with tens of thousands of families leaving for Bannu. Jets and artillery began hitting militant targets on June 15 to try to regain full control of the district after years of pressure from Washington and other powers.
The assault was finally launched after a dramatic attack on Karachi airport which killed dozens of people and marked the end of a faltering peace process with the Pakistani Taliban.