KHAR, Sept 19: Security forces on Wednesday claimed to have found 18 bodies of militants during a search operation in Salarzai tehsil of Bajaur Agency along the border with Afghanistan.

Officials told journalists that volunteers of the Salarzai Qaumi Lashkar and security forces had found the bodies during the search operation in the region which was under the Taliban’s control since August.

On Sept 10 also 18 bodies of militants killed in clashes with security forces were found in the area, they said.

The search operation in the area along the border continued and more bodies were likely to be found, the official said.

He claimed that during the two-week fighting security forces supported by the Salarzai Qaumi Lashkar had killed at least 100 militants in various parts of the tehsil.

Reuters adds: The military said it had killed 29 Taliban fighters on Wednesday in the final stage of an operation aimed at forcing hundreds of insurgents back across the border into Afghanistan.

Soldiers used artillery, helicopter gunships and fighter jets during attacks.

The battle was the culmination of weeks of operations in remote valleys of the Batwar area of Bajaur Agency.

Around 400 militants crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan on Aug 23 and attacked villages, said a senior security official based in Khar, the main town of Bajaur.

The army launched operations that killed around 120 militants, another security official said from Peshawar. Twenty-five soldiers also died in the fighting.

“The militants escaped to their sanctuaries in Afghanistan and even left the bodies of slain fighters,” said the Peshawar-based official.

He said the armed forces were now establishing posts along that section of the Afghan border to thwart future incursions.

A spokesman for militants confirmed the attacks were staged by fighters from several regions.

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