PESHAWAR: At least nine suspected militants were killed and 10 others were injured in an operation against militants in Khyber Agency’s Bara area, sources told Dawn, adding that this operation has been named as Khyber I (Khyber one).

Intensifying their efforts to counter militants in Khyber, security forces have upped action in the region.

Senior security sources told Dawn that this was the first wave of a fresh offensive launched to clear Bara tehsil.

Sources said the main aim of the operation was to clear Khyber from Bara until the border of Tirah valley, following which the second phase of the operation will begin.

Curfew has been imposed in the area and people are not allowed to either enter or leave Bara.

Security forces have also blocked all routes leading to Bara and have surrounded its Malikdinkhel, Akakhel and Sipah areas.

Scores of families have started moving to safer places as the offensive against militant groups is intensifying. Jet fighters have also been seen flying in the area.

Also read: Over 500 Akkakhel families leave Tirah

A day ago, 21 suspected militants were killed when fighter jets pounded positions of the outlawed Lashkar-i-Islam group in Akakhel.

Five hideouts of the Bara-based militant group were destroyed in the air strikes.

Khyber is among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border, rife with homegrown insurgents and foreign militants. These are also home to religious extremist organisations including Al Qaeda.

The plains of Bara hold strategic significance for militant groups as they connect the agency to the outskirts of Peshawar.

The area was being used by militants to put pressure on the provincial capital. In recent weeks, police and military posts in and around Peshawar have come under attack.

The key area also straddles the Nato supply line into Afghanistan.

Khyber also links several agencies to each other, serving as a north-south route within Fata. The region has been long fought over by a mix of militant organisations, including the TTP, the Ansarul Islam and Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-i-Islam.

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