KOHAT, July 16: Security forces on Wednesday entered the Zargari area of Hangu and secured the Naryab dam where militants were deeply entrenched and putting up stiff resistance for five days.
Militants were reported to have used heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft guns and mortars, to counter the offensive.
It is learnt that about 4,000 militants, along with Uzbeks and Taliban from Waziristan, were resisting security forces. According to local people, they had established a base in the Orakzai Agency some time ago.
Five helicopters arrived here in the afternoon and shelled hills around Naryab and Chappri despite heavy rain. Officials said that militants had also been forced to retreat from the Shenawarai area.
More troops and tanks arrived in the Zargari area, raising the number of ground forces taking part in the operation to 1,500. A tense calm prevailed in the area after both sides stopped firing in the evening.
Meanwhile, army personnel repositioned themselves after bombs fell in residential areas, injuring at least three people, including a woman. Local people said that more than a dozen civilians had been injured but it could not be verified. Five houses were damaged by the bombsg. The presence of security forces on the Naryab Dam, located at a considerable height, enables them to keep an eye on the entire area. Troops detained five suspects in Zargari during a search operation. They were later released.
Meanwhile, people in Doaba have been asked to move out of the area before the launching of an operation.
A pamphlet distributed by DCO Hangu Shahabullah Shah on Wednesday advises evacuation of Doaba and Zargari before an operation is launched against militants.
“People who fail to move to relief camps will be considered to be anti-government.”
The pamphlet also warned the local people against providing shelter to militants. There are reports of acute shortages of flour and other food items in Doaba and Thall.
ANP MNA Pir Haider Ali Shah, who is heading a three-member jirga, told Dawn on phone that whenever they were close to reaching an agreement, some irritants stalled the process.