15 militants killed and 60 injured in Hangu operation, says military
PESHAWAR: Troops and helicopter gunships killed 15 pro-Taliban militants and captured 60 others while clearing Turawari – a restive northwestern town near the Afghan border – the military said on Sunday. “15 militants have been killed in the operation so far, while 60 others have been captured,” chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP. Abbas said helicopter gunships were providing cover for troops on the ground.
“Five of our soldiers have been injured,” he said, adding that troops had managed to push militants out of the valley and were now targeting them in the mountains. Abbas provided no details of how the militants were killed or captured in the operation, which the army has said will continue until the area is cleared of militants.
More than 100 militants attacked the Turawari fort after midnight, but were held off by the 29 paramilitary soldiers inside until army reinforcements arrived. Army troops destroyed six vehicles belonging to the militants as they fled. An estimated 20 militants were injured. Authorities launched an offensive in the increasingly troubled district of Hangu on Wednesday after Taliban insurgents occupying the area killed 17 paramilitary troops in an ambush.
Pakistan is under intense pressure from the United States and other Western allies to crack down on Taliban forces on its side of the porous border with Afghanistan. The operation in Hangu, which borders the country’s militant-plagued tribal belt, is the biggest against extremists since Pakistan’s new government took charge. Meanwhile, curfew in Doaba city entered into day 12 while curfew in Hangu continued for the fifth consecutive day.