Senate of Pakistan

35 militants killed in Waziristan air blitz

35 militants killed in Waziristan air blitz

ISLAMABAD: At least 35 suspected terrorists were killed in fresh air strikes in North Waziristan Agency near the border with Afghanistan on Sunday as an eight-member Afghan delegation, led by the country’s border police chief, arrived in the federal capital on a five-day trip.

Fighter jets strafed hideouts of militants in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, the military’s media wing, the ISPR, said in a statement.  Thirty-five terrorists were killed in the air blitz, it added. “Foreigners were among the dead.”

A military operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb, has been ongoing in North Waziristan since mid-June last year and the military claims to have purged 90% area of homegrown and foreign militants. According to an official tally, over 2,000 militants have been killed in the operation thus far.

The fresh air strikes coincided with a five-day visit to Islamabad by an eight-member Afghan delegation, led by Afghan Border Police (ABP) Commander Lt Gen Shafiq Fazli. The delegation, which includes senior ABP officials, will hold talks with Pakistani military authorities on issue related to border security.

The visit, according to the ISPR, is part of the ongoing exchanges, aimed at enhancing cooperation at the military level between the two countries. Last week, two senior Pakistan Army officials – including the Peshawar corps commander and the commander of the Southern Command – visited Kabul to meet their counterparts.

A military official said these visits reflected the tangible results of decisions recently taken by the two countries to fight terrorism jointly.

Meanwhile, members of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence visited the Corps Headquarters, Army Public School in Peshawar, North Waziristan Agency and a camp formed for the temporarily displaced people (TDP) in Bannu.

According to the ISPR, the delegation – comprising Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Raja Zafarul Haq, Choudhry Shujaat Hussain, Farahatullah Babar, Sehar Kamran, Haji Adeel and Abdul Rauf – was given a detailed briefing on Operations Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber-I.

“The visiting dignitaries were also apprised of the arrangements being made for the early return of the TDPs,” the ISPR said in a statement, adding that the lawmakers lauded the role played by the security forces in the war against terrorism.

“Later, the senators visited Miramshah in North Waziristan and were shown the destroyed and captured militant’s hideouts, IED factories, tunnels, suicide bombers’ training centres and arms and ammunition recovered from terrorists,” it said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2015.

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