PESHAWAR / LANDI KOTAL, Nov 11: Three militants and five other people were killed and seven others injured when security forces launched an operation in the outskirts of Peshawar and adjoining Khyber and Mohmand tribal regions on Tuesday to recover two Humvee vehicles and military goods looted by militants on Monday.

The militants hijacked 13 containers carrying supplies for Nato forces in Afghanistan on the Peshawar-Torkham highway and a group working under Baitullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for the attack.

Local people said that a shell hit the house of one Lal Zada in Kass Korona area and killed three members of his family. Another shell hit the residence of Dr Samer in the same area, injuring three people. Two people were killed when they were caught crossfire.

Mohmand region’s tehsildar Arshed Ali said that three Taliban militants had been killed.

The local administration imposed a curfew in Mathra area in the outskirts of Peshawar.

Sources said that helicopter gunships attacked militant hideouts in Mullagori area of Khyber.

Political tehsildar Bakhtiar Khattak said the administration had requested the government to send additional troops for a full-scale operation to recover the looted goods.

In a related development, militants attacked near Torkham a truck carrying a military jeep from Afghanistan and destroyed it.

Troops also combed several areas in the Mohmand tribal region.

Officials said the action had been taken on the basis of reports that the militants had taken the stolen goods to Michini area of Mohmand.

A police official said that some of the looted wheat bags carrying the US markings had been found from the area. The militants had stored the grain at a place on the bank of a river and were selling it for Rs900 per 40kg. In some areas it was distributed free.

The official said that when security personnel started loading wheat onto vehicles, militants opened firing but they disappeared when troops returned fire. He said that thousands of soldiers had been deployed and checkpoints had been set up in Shahi Bala, Bara Pul, Mathra, Patwar and Michini Pul areas.

People in Patwar and Mathra said that police had made announcements on loudspeakers at 7am about the imposition of curfew.

Meanwhile, tribesmen blocked the main road in Jamrud in protest against the killing of a boy by shelling and placed his body outside the political administration’s office.

Our Charsadda Correspondent adds: Security forces took positions on hilltops near Warsak Dam and Shabqadar areas apparently to launch an operation.

Amir Abu Hanifa of the Tehrik-i-Taliban in Michini warned of retaliation if the operation was launched.

According to our correspondent in Ghalanai, the local Taliban released four elders they had kidnapped from Lakaro Qandaro tehsil of Mohmand Agency.

A hospital employee was injured reportedly in firing by security personnel. Troops have been stationed in various schools in the villages of Was Kor, Daman and Matta.

Loss of vehicles confirmed

PESHAWAR: An American military spokesman in Afghanistan on Tuesday night confirmed the hijacking of more than a dozen US trucks and other vehicles by Pakistani militants on Monday.

“There were some US military materials that were taken — Humvees and water tank trailers,” he said.

In the past, US and Nato officials have played down their losses along the Pakistan-Afghanistan highway. But earlier this year, Nato said it was trying to reduce its dependence on the route by negotiating with Russia and other nations to let it truck “non-lethal” supplies to Afghanistan.—AP