PESHAWAR: Seven more militants were killed in exchange of fire when trying to flee from cordoned off area in North Waziristan on Monday evening, taking the total toll to 187 since Saturday night when operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched.
“Fire exchange took place in which two soldiers also embraced shahadat (martyrdom),” said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Earlier in the day, 13 terrorists were killed in the Shawal area of North Waziristan tribal region. Six soldiers were also killed in the tribal agency when a planted bomb exploded on the Pak-Afghan border.
The operation was launched against foreign and local terrorists hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan, a week after a brazen insurgent attack on the country's busiest airport in Karachi.
Seven more militants killed in fire exchange
Seven more militants were killed in exchange of fire when trying to flee from cordoned off area in North Waziristan on Monday evening, said the ISPR press release. Two Pakistan Army soldiers were also killed in the fire exchange, it added.
13 militants killed
In the fresh strike, security officials said 13 suspected militants were reportedly killed in the Shawal area in an air strike. The militants were reportedly seeking refuge in an abandoned primary school in the area. The dead include six Uzbeks, the officials added.
Six soldiers killed
ISPR said Monday that six soldiers have been killed and three injured due to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion between the Afghan border and Ghulam Khan Tehsil in North Wazirstan Agency
They added that a security forces convoy was targeted on Bane Dar road in Ghulam Khan Tehsil on the Pak-Afghan border. Forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.
Miramshah on lockdown
Monday is the fourth day of curfew imposed by security forces in Miramshah, North Waziristan. Residents are not allowed to leave their homes, and reports are surfacing of a shortage of food and other rations.
Locals have been told to either register at IDP camps in FR Bannu Baka Khel or leave with relatives moving out of the tribal agency.
New checkposts have been established near Miramshah Bazaar, which has been cordoned off to restrict movement. Tanks have also been deployed at checkposts, and aerial surveillance is also taking place.
27 militants killed in airstrikes
According to the ISPR, the 27 were killed today during airstrikes in areas around North Waziristan’s Mir Ali town. Moreover, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that airstrikes were also carried out in the Shawal region where there was no civilian population and several insurgent compounds were reported destroyed.
Meanwhile, Mir Ali and Miramshah, another town in the tribal agency, had emptied out and troops were not facing any resistance in their advances.
Operation to eliminate all terrorists: COAS
The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif on Monday said the operation is aimed to eliminate all terrorists and their sanctuaries in North Waziristan.
The army chief made these remarks during his visit to the National Defence University (NDU) Islamabad today where he addressed the participants of the National Security and War Course.
In his address, General Raheel focused on the internal and external situation of the country with particular reference to the ongoing operation in the Agency.
"The purpose of the operation is to get rid of the menace of terrorism", General Raheel told participants.
Lashkar to address operation
It is learnt that Maulana Gul Ramzan - one of the principle players of the 2007 peace agreement with the government and a close associate of militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar - has convened a jirga on Monday to galvanise locals to flush out foreign militants.
Local military authorities, however, maintain that instead of the lashkar asking locals to help flush out militants, it should focus on eliminating them.
Security beefed up all over country
An ISPR statement released Monday afternoon said security has been beefed up in all major cities and towns and at sensitive installations across the country by civil administration.
Army troops have been alerted and positioned to assist law enforcement agencies. They will remain at designated places and respond when asked by civil administration will be employed in case of emergency.
No civilian population targeted
The ISPR on Monday said the operation in North Waziristan Agency is progressing "as per plan". No operation in the civil populated areas has been started so far.
North Waziristan Agency has been isolated by deploying troops along its border with neighbouring agencies and FATA to block movement of terrorists in and out of the Agency.
It also stated that an evacuation of the civil population of Agency is being ensured. Logistics and administrative arrangements for IDPs have been completed by Political Administration and Disaster Managmet Agency. Registration points and IDP camps have been established at Bannu.
Troops have cordoned off all terrorists bases, including the town of Mirali and Miranshah. Seven fleeing terrorists were killed on the outskirts of Mirali Sunday night. In a separate sniper action by the Special Service Group, three terrorists were killed, while planting IEDs close to Miranshah.
Pak-Afghan border secured
The ISPR on Monday said security has been beefed up along the Pak-Afghan border to prevent terrorists fleeing from the area. Afghan National Army and Afghan Border Police have also been requested to seal the border on their side to facilitate elimination of terrorists fleeing across the border.
They have also been requested to initiate immediate measures to eliminate TTP terrorists and their sanctuaries in Kunar, Nuristan and other areas of Afghanistan.
KP puts health institutions on alert in wake of NW operation
In the wake of the operation, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has put all hospitals and health institutions on high alert to meet any emergency situation, said KP health minister Shahram Khan Tarakai.
Tarakai said a state of emergency had been evoked in all health institutions of the province with immediate effect.
He added that leaves of all staff members of the provincial health facilities were cancelled, adding that the authorities were fully prepared to cater to any emergency cases.
Director Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Disaster Management Authority Arshad Khan told Dawn.com that a registration point had been set up at Saidgai to assess the number of families moving out of the North Waziristan Agency.
Explore: Footprints: Fleeing home
He added that a camp has also been set up at Baran Dam area of Frontier Regions Baka Khel Bannu to facilitate the people moving out but most of the families were moving to their host families present in other districts.
Deputy Commissioner Dera Ismail Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed said that about 1500 families had moved to the district from the North Waziristan Agency and a registration process was started to facilitate them.
The internally displaced persons (IDPs) were also moving out to other cities like, Lakki Marwat, Bannu, DIK, Peshawar, and even the major cities of Punjab and Sindh.
Taliban warn foreign firms to leave
The Pakistani Taliban warned foreign firms to leave the country after the launch of a military offensive in the North Waziristan Agency.
The TTP has also vowed to take revenge on the government.
Take a look: North Waziristan operation
“We hold Nawaz Sharif's government and the Punjabi establishment responsible for the loss of tribal Muslims' life and property as a result of this operation,” the statement said.
Major military operations in Pakistan