Pakistani forces kill 15 militants, capture 60 others


Islamabad : A security forces in an operation in a Pakistani northern town killed 15 militants and 60 others were arrested, said a military spokesman on Sunday.

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The operation backed by gunship helicopters was launched last week around Hangu town, about 150 kilometers from the capital city of Islamabad, after militants killed about 17 soldiers and kidnapped 29 paramilitary troopers in an attack on a police station.

The Taliban militants Saturday renewed their threat to kill all 29 hostages one by one after the expiry of the five-day deadline given to the provincial government to withdraw the military from Hangu.

Military spokesman Ather Abbas said at least 15 militants have been killed in the still ongoing operation and around 60 others were arrested. Five soldiers also sustained injuries in clashes with militants, he added.

Militants also attacked a Frontier Constabulary (FC) check-post Sunday morning and wounded four soldiers.

Meanwhile, the military spokesman claimed clearing the valley successfully of militants, while about 90 percent of the population of the area has migrated to safer ground.

According to tribal sources, most of the militant elements have taken sanctuary in the neighboring Orakzai tribal agency.

A grand tribal Jirga of 17 tribes of Orakzai Agency was held on Friday night, which assured the government of full support in case the Taliban militants used their land against security forces.

They also promised not to provide shelter to foreigners and fight them if they tried to disturb law and order in the area.

Meanwhile, reports of military gunship helicopters pounding militants’ hideouts in Kurrum tribal agency were also received here on Sunday.

Security sources told KUNA that the gunship helicopters targeted a suspected militant vehicle and militant hideouts. There were reports of casualties, but no exact figure could be ascertained.