Pakistani jets bomb militants’ positions after ground resistance

Islamabad: The Pakistani army said security forces sought air support after militants showed resistance during the ongoing ground offensive in North Waziristan Saturday.

The security forces have launched a major operation against the Pakistani and foreign militants after a rare peace dialogue collapsed and the Taliban increased attacks on security forces and sensitive installations.

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Ground forces started action two weeks after the air strikes that killed over 300 local and foreign militants.

The forces have not yet encountered any major resistance during the ground operation. However, there have been small attacks as militants hiding in some areas fired at the forces.

“On facing fire and resistance from inside Miranshah town and Boya village, air strikes were launched to flush out terrorists, destroying five terrorist hideouts, caves and a huge cache of arms and ammunition,” Xinhua quoted an army spokesman as saying.

He said scores of terrorists were also killed in the early Saturday morning strikes. Most of the terrorists killed in the strikes were Uzbeks.

Meanwhile, a soldier lost his life when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded during a clearance operation Saturday morning, the spokesman said in a statement.

The security forces have also found several IED manufacturing factories with hundreds of cylinders filled with explosives.

Pakistan had been under mounting pressure to go after the militants in North Waziristan tribal agency, which the army said had been turned into a major sanctuary for local and foreign militants.

The ongoing operation has seen over half a million people evacuated, with most of them now living in rented houses, with friends and relatives or with host communities.

Only a few hundred IDPs have taken shelter in government’s camps. Most IDPs have said they are not going to the camps as there are no facilities.

The government has announced supply of food, other essential items, tents and cash for the displaced people.

The UN refugee agency said nearly 70,000 locals have crossed into Afghanistan from North Waziristan.