36 foreign fighters among dead

ISLAMABAD: Security agencies claimed on Tuesday that 36 foreign fighters and senior Taliban commanders, including head of TTP suicide squad and the militant group’s former interim chief, were killed in the overnight air strikes on terrorist sanctuaries in North Waziristan.

Military sources told Dawn that among those killed were 33 Uzbek fighters and three Germans who were involved in militancy in the region.

The disclosure follows a claim by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Shahidullah Shahid in a statement emailed to journalists that “indiscriminate bombing” by Pakistani forces had resulted in deaths of “innocent women and children”.

Talking to Dawn, ISPR spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa said the strikes were based on intelligence that had been double checked to eliminate any possibility of collateral damage.

Security officials said that a few senior TTP commanders were also killed in the strikes.

The names shared by them included that of Asmat Shaheen Bhittani, who served as the acting TTP chief after Hakeemullah Mehsud’s death and also headed the Taliban supreme Shura.

The security officials further claimed that head of the ‘fidayeen squad’ Wali Mohammad Mehsud alias Toofan, was also among the dead.

Among other key militant commanders who had been killed were Nur Badshah Mehsud and Maulvi Farhad (Uzbek).

The officials were reluctant to confirm reports about Adnan Rashid’s death.

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