PESHAWAR: At least six suspected militants were killed and seven others were injured in fresh clashes between security forces and militants in the northwestern tribal region of Khyber, security sources told Dawn on Thursday.
The latest clashes took place in the Sipah area of Bara tehsil with Operation Khyber I (Khyber one) underway in the region. The operation was formally launched earlier this month.
Security forces have intensified their efforts to counter militants in Khyber and have upped action in the region.
Sources had told Dawn earlier that Khyber I's main aim was to clear the areas lying from Bara until the border of Tirah valley, following which a second phase of the operation will be launched.
Scores of families have been moving to safer places as the offensive against militant groups is picking up.
Also read: Over 500 Akkakhel families leave Tirah.
Two security personnel injured in Bara blast
Two security personnel were injured in a roadside blast in Khyber's Bara area on Thursday.
The blast was apparently caused by an improvised explosive device.
Moreover, in a separate incident in Bara, a sniper shot a security man dead.
No group has claimed either of the attacks so far.
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 the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). The region has been long fought over by a mix of militant organisations, including the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Ansarul Islam and Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-i-Islam.