Aerial strikes kill 20 suspected militants in Khyber Agency

Published October 30, 2014
A Pakistani fighter jet. – File Photo
A Pakistani fighter jet. – File Photo

PESHAWAR: At least 20 suspected terrorists were killed and five militant hideouts were destroyed during targeted aerial strikes by fighter jets in Khyber Agency, Pakistan military claimed on Thursday.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a statement said that the fighter aircraft struck militant hideouts in Akakhel, Tirah and other areas of the agency as part of ongoing Khyber Operation.

The details, however, could not be verified as access for journalists is restricted in the area.

Eight Pakistani soldiers and 21 terrorists were killed while several others injured earlier on Wednesday in Spin Qamar area of Khyber Agency.

Pakistani military launched a major offensive in North Waziristan in June and say they have killed more than 1,100 militants so far, with 100 soldiers losing their lives in the operation. Later, it shifted focus to Khyber Agency after claiming to have cleared the NWA.

According to ISPR, about 66 militants and 12 soldiers have also been injured in the army's ongoing operations in Khyber so far. Whereas, more than a 100 militants, including some key commanders, have surrendered to the authorities.

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 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 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.

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