PESHAWAR: Nearly half a dozen militants were killed in a single day in what appeared as the first major offensive since the resurgence of militancy in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Sources in police and security forces said operations were carried out in Swat, Lakki Marwat and Khyber districts, which resulted in the killing of at least five militants, including a senior commander of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

In one of these operations, a police official embraced martyrdom in Khyber district on Thursday night, sources said.

Shootout in Khyber

Also, militants in Khyber district ambushed a police patrol in Jamrud’s Sat Saurang area. In an ensuing exchange of fire with the militants, a police official Mohsin Afridi embraced martyrdom while leaving one of the militants dead, according to police officials.

The body of slain militant, later identified as Junaid, was found later during a search operation in the Warmando Mela area, the sources said. He was involved in the killing of not only the police official but also a source of an intelligence agency, two khasadars, two other policemen and some private persons, they said.

As “Islamic State Khurasan had claimed the killing of the intelligence source, this makes him an IS-K member,” the sources explained.

Three killed in Lakki Marwat

The sources said law enforcers had been combing mountains in the Shanwa and Darra Tang areas of Lakkit Marwat following the abduction of customs staff from a checkpoint when they came under attack in Darra Tang.

Three militants were killed in the shootout after the police returned fire, official sources said, claiming that the operation had been launched in the pursuit of the three militants.

Manglawar operation

The intelligence-based operation in Swat was launched after reliable sources informed the counterterrorism department of Malakand region that a group of suspected terrorists had entered the Manglawar area and were planning to carry out “terrorist activities”.

On receiving the information, the Malakand region CTD along with other security forces personnel launched raided the place. “Terrorists opened indiscriminate fire on seeing the police and security forces personnel,” the CTD claimed in a press release, adding that the security forces also started firing in retaliation that continued late into the night.

Residents of Manglawar and Sangota said they heard gunfire that continued for about an hour late Thursday night. “It was midnight that my eyes opened with the sound of heavy gunfire. At first, I thought it would end soon but the exchange of fire continued for a long time which sent a wave of terror not only in our family members but also in the neighbourhood,” said Iftikhar Ali, a resident of Manglawar.

The CTD stated, “After the firing ended, one terrorist was found dead during the search and clearance operation. He was identified as Adil Zaib, son of Mian Sahib, resident of Shikrey area of Manglawar.”

The police claimed to have seized hand grenades, weapons and ammunition from the possession of the slain militant. However, the CTD press release added, his accomplices managed to escape taking advantage of the darkness and dense orchards in the area. A search operation was later initiated to track them down.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022

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