Muqadas Ali Khan
Muqadas Ali Khan

PESHAWAR: A military officer and three soldiers embraced martyrdom while seven terrorists were killed in an operation in the Dattakhel area of North Waziristan on Wednesday.

The operation took place in Mama Ziarat, 7km southwest of Dattakhel, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release.

Dattakhel is close to the Afghan border, with most of its neighbourhoods yet to be cleared of militants in the wake of Operation Zarb-i-Azb.

Qamar Nadeem
Qamar Nadeem

Official sources said that security forces launched the operation before dawn following confirmed intelligence about presence of terrorists in a hideout near Dattakhel. The operation continued for several hours. A large cache of arms, ammunition and IEDs was recovered from the hideout during clearance.

As soon as troops cordoned the area, terrorists opened fire to flee from the hideout. In intense exchange of fire, four security forces personnel were martyred while one soldier was injured.

Muhammad Qasim
Muhammad Qasim

As per the ISPR press release, the martyred soldiers were Lieutenant Agha Muqadas Ali Khan, a 26-year-old resident from Lahore, Lance Havildar Qamar Nadeem, 36, a resident of Layyah; Sepoy Muhammad Qasim, 24, a resident of Layyah, and Sepoy Tauseef, 23, a resident of Narowal.

Sources said the identities of the terrorists killed had not been disclosed by the security forces, but they most probably belonged to the Commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar group. Bahadur was head of the Mujahideen Shura, North Waziristan – a syndicate of various militant outfits – before Operation Zarb-i-Azb.

Sepoy Tauseef
Sepoy Tauseef

Gul Bahadur reportedly fled to Afghanistan when the army launched Zarb-i-Azb in 2014. Sources said that his group maintained presence both in North Waziristan and across the border from where he launched attacks against security forces.

On March 10 this year, a colonel of the Pakistan army was martyred in an intelligence-based operation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Tank district, which borders the tribal district of South Waziristan. In the operation, two wanted terrorists were also killed.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2020

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