KHYBER: Security forces carried out heavy bombardments on the hideouts of suspected terrorists in Tirah Valley of Khyber district on Friday, according to local sources.

Separately, five terrorists were killed during an intelligence-based operation in Tank district.

There was no official statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s media affairs department, on the operation in the valley.

ISPR says five terrorists killed in Tank

However, sources told Dawn that the alleged hideouts were pounded with heavy artillery and helicopter gunships. Any casualties couldn’t be immediately ascertained.

The forces have so far targeted possible hideouts in Sanda Pal, Shalmanda Hills, Dray Naghari and Landawar areas. Locals had already vacated their houses in anticipation of the operation.

Earlier, a limited-scale artillery shelling on the hideouts started around four days ago, with both ground and air forces taking part in the action.

Some videos posted on X showed heavy smoke billowing over a hillock, which was reportedly targeted with artillery and mortar shells by the security forces. Dawn has been unable to verify the claims independently.

The reports about the intensified military campaign came a day after Army Chief Gen Asim Munir visited Pesh­awar. ISPR said the COAS was given a detailed briefing on, among other things, “the overall security situation and ongoing counter-terrorism operations”.

Tirah Valley, near the border with Afghanistan, has seen an upsurge in terrorist attacks targeting both civilians and military personnel. Recently, it has been the site of several gunfights between security forces and alleged terrorists. In one such operation last month, four security personnel, including a lieutenant colonel, were martyred.

IBO conducted in Tank

The security forces killed five terrorists during an IBO conducted late on Thursday night in the general area Mullazai of Tank district, adds APP.

“Sanitisation operation is being conducted to eliminate any other terrorists present in the area, as the security forces are determined to wipe out the menace of terrorism from the country,” ISPR said.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2023

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