Peshawar: Thirteen Taliban fighters were killed and seven others injured when helicopter gunships targeted militant positions in the restive Orakzai tribal region of northwest Pakistan Sunday, security sources said.
Ground forces backed by the helicopters attacked Taliban hideouts in Torsmat and Chapaer areas of Orakzai Agency.
Two militant hideouts were destroyed in the air strikes, the sources said.
There were reports of clashes between security forces and militants in and around Khadizai and Kot Khali areas, where the Taliban have taken advantage of the hilly terrain and were resisting the troops.
Security forces launched a crackdown in Orakzai Agency after a lieutenant colonel and five soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb blast in the region on Friday.
Officials had earlier said that 10 militants were killed in air strikes yesterday. The militants have no option but to lay down their arms and surrender to the security forces, the sources said.
Troops have destroyed over 30 training centres and 150 militant hideouts in the agency, they claimed.
In a separate development, militants blew up two state-run schools in the restive Salarzaia sub-division of Bajaur Agency, officials said.
The schools were destroyed with a low-intensity improvised explosive device early this morning though there were no casualties as the buildings were empty at the time of the attack.
Security forces launched a search operation in the area after the blast. The political administration and troops beefed up security across Bajaur Agency and set up road blocks in sensitive areas.