Pakistani warplanes mow down 76 militants

PAK airPESHAWAR: Pakistani warplanes pounded militant sanctuaries near the northwestern Afghan border Tuesday, killing a total of 76 militants, the military said.

“In precise aerial strikes, 76 terrorists including some foreigners were killed, near Datta Khel area of North Waziristan tribal district” the military said in a statement,

Pakistani officials refer to the Arab and Central Asian militants who fled to the tribal lands after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 as “foreigners”.

“Six terrorist hideouts, an ammunition dump and seven explosive-laden vehicles were also destroyed” in the air strikes, the statement added.

The conflict zone is off-limits to journalists, so there is no way to independently verify the number and identity of those killed.

Pakistan began a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from North Waziristan last June after a bloody Taliban attack on Karachi airport finally sank faltering peace talks.

Air strikes, artillery, mortars and ground troops have all been used to take back territory.

The army has intensified its offensive since the Taliban’s massacre of 150 people, 134 of them children, in a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December.

The semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for Islamist militants of all stripes, including Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.

About the Author