Security forces on Thursday rescued five labourers who were part of a group of 16 abducted by terrorists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Kurram district last month, the military's media affairs wing said in a statement.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the 16 labourers were "abducted by unknown terrorists" on June 26 while they were working at the site of a cell phone tower in Kurram. Ten of them were released the next day while the body of one of them was also found, it added.
"To rescue the remaining five abducted labourers, security forces launched [a] series of intelligence-based operations (IBO) in highly inhospitable terrain under extreme weather conditions. Terrorists were continuously tracked and pursued," the statement said.
In one such IBO on Tuesday, three terrorists were killed and two Frontier Corps officials — Captain Basit Ali and Sepoy Hazrat Bilal — were martyred.
"With determination, security forces continued the pursuit of terrorists and on July 15, during another exchange of fire, successfully rescued five abducted labourers," the ISPR said.
It further said that the operation was still ongoing to apprehend or eliminate the remaining terrorists in the area.
"Security forces are consistently endeavouring to ensure the security and well-being of our innocent civilians who have been wholeheartedly supporting the security forces in fighting the menace of terrorism," the ISPR said.
Earlier this week, officials had told Dawn that a militant commander who had joined the so-called Islamic State (IS) group was involved in the kidnapping of the labourers. They said the kidnappers released video footage of the captives in which they demanded ransom for their release.
A senior official dealing with the security situation in the area confirmed presence of militant groups, including IS, in central part of Kurram.
The central part of Kurram district, which is adjacent to Khyber and Orakzai tribal districts, was a sanctuary of various militant outfits.
Security forces had conducted multiple operations against militants and the area was de-notified as a conflict zone in 2011.