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Armed activists of banned Lashkar-i-Islam had been laying siege to the bunker for one week, cutting all supplies to more than a dozen Taliban holed up at the hilltop. — File Photo

 

LANDI KOTAL: Ten militants were killed when landmines planted in a bunker exploded in the Tirah valley, sources said on Tuesday.

The sources said the Taliban militants affiliated with the Tariq Afridi group planted the landmines on Monday before vacating one of their important bunkers at Zeeg hilltop overlooking Mehraban Kali in the valley.

Armed activists of banned Lashkar-i-Islam had been laying siege to the bunker for one week, cutting all supplies to more than a dozen Taliban holed up at the hilltop.

The sources said the Lashkar men entered the bunker after receiving information that the Taliban had fled the area. Ten activists were killed on the spot.

With the capture of the Zeeg hilltop, the Lashkar has strengthened its position in Mehraban Kali and surrounding areas which are mostly inhabited by members of Kukikhel tribe.

The sources said the Taliban had earlier been forced to vacate their bases in Dwa Thoe and Serhai areas after local tribesmen revolted against them. In retaliation, the Taliban attacked a mosque in the Kukikhel area in Jamrud on Friday, killing 51 innocent tribesmen.

MINERS FREED: The Kukikhel elders claimed to have recovered four miners who were kidnapped several weeks ago by the Taliban from Darra Adamkhel.

A local elder told Dawn that coalminers Fazal, son of Mohammad Hanif; Rahimullah, son of Abdul Hamid; Bakhtzada, son of Mohammad Zahir; and Qaimooz Khan, son of Abdul Alam; all residents of Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, were recovered when the Taliban vacated their bases in the Kukikhel area a few days ago.

He said the families of the kidnapped miners had been contacted and they would be brought to Peshawar as soon the area was cleared of militants.

Earlier this month, the Taliban had released 12 miners after receiving a huge ransom when the Darra Adamkhel administration brokered a deal between the kidnappers and coalmine owners.