60 ultras die in Pak military offensive

A Pakistani tribal boy, who fled the military offensive area of South Waziristan, looks out from a vehicle as he along with his family members wait fo

60 ultras die in Pak military offensive

Pakistani jets and artillery pounded Taliban bases for the second day on Sunday killing 60 militants in the lawless Waziristan region as ground forces continued their push into the strongholds of the Taliban and captured two key towns from them despite stiff resistance.

Five soldiers were also killed and 11 more injured in clashes that erupted on Saturday after thousands of troops began advancing from three directions towards areas inhabited by the Mehsud tribe, considered the main base of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan led by Hakimullah Mehsud.

The Inter-Services Public Relations said 60 militants had been killed over the past 24 hours during “Operation Rah-e-Nijat” (Path to Salvation), the codename for the offensive in South Waziristan.

TV news channels reported that jets targeted militant positions in Ladha and Sarvakai, two key strongholds of the Taliban. Check posts have also been established in Kotkai, where Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud’s home is located.

The security forces have taken control of Spinkay Raghzai and Ghazai areas in South Waziristan following fierce fighting on Saturday, even as militants offered “stiff resistance” at Shahwangi and Khesora areas, officials said.

Troops moving along the Shakai-Kaniguram-Ladha axis moved seven kilometres into Taliban-held territory and captured strategic features.
Security forces had also secured important features and tactical heights around and south of Razmak, a key town in North Waziristan.

As the troops pushed into Taliban-held areas, they destroyed several vehicles and six 12.7mm anti-aircraft gun positions.
Another gun position was captured in Wuzi Sar area. The troops also recovered IEDs, mines, arms and ammunition.

Military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas has said the offensive has been launched to “dismantle the network” of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and to flush out militants in South Waziristan who were responsible for 80 per cent of recent attacks in the country.
 The operation has sparked a massive exodus of people. About 10,000 families have so far fled from the tribal belt to safe places like Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu and Tank in the North West Frontier Province.

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