27 militants ‘killed’ in North Waziristan
PESHAWAR: At least 27 militants and four tribesmen were killed in gunfights in a restive Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said Monday.
The gun battles between a local tribal force and Taliban insurgents erupted in Kurram district late Sunday, they said, adding that Pakistani forces later reinforced the tribal fighters and pounded militant positions with artillery. “At least 27 militants and four members of peace lashkar (the tribal force) were killed in the fighting in Masuzai area of central Kurram,” local government official Sher Buhadar told AFP. The tribal lashkar was backed up by paramilitaries and artillery units of the Pakistan army, he added.
Regional commissioner Sahibzada Anees confirmed the fighting and said more than 30 people had been killed in the gun battles. The death tolls could not be verified independently as the area is out of bounds to the media.
Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said earlier this month that a military operation in the area would clear it “of people involved in all kinds of terrorist activities, including kidnapping and killing of locals, and suicide attacks”. Pakistan’s seven tribal districts bordering Afghanistan are rife with a homegrown insurgency, and are strongholds of the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Washington has described them as the most dangerous place on Earth. Kurram also suffers from sectarian violence between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites.