25 Taliban killed in Pak military operation

Four soldiers and 25 Taliban fighters were on Sunday killed in clashes in the restive Mohmand tribal region.

Islamabad: Four soldiers and 25 Taliban
fighters were on Sunday killed in clashes in the restive Mohmand
tribal region, where the Pakistani security forces carried out
a ground and air offensive to capture a mountain occupied by
the rebels.

The Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps and the Pakistan Air
Force launched a joint operation yesterday to evict terrorists
from their stronghold of Walidad in Mohmand Agency, the
military said.

After intense fighting, the troops secured Walidad
Top, a strategic mountain, and surrounding areas after killing
25 terrorists.

Four soldiers were killed and eight more injured in
the clashes, the military said.

The remaining militants in the area "fled across the
border", the military said.

The ground operation was preceded by air strikes on
militant bunkers and positions on Walidad mountain.

Media reports said the militants attacked a check post
in Baizai area of Mohmand Agency with rockets. The troops
retaliated by firing artillery shells at militant hideouts.

The military said troops were consolidating their
positions near Walidad Top and conducting search operations to
trace the militants who escaped from the area.

The operation has the "full support of the people of
Mohmand Agency", the military said in a statement.

The clashes occurred in a region near the Afghan
border, where militants frequently launch attacks on security
forces.

Security sources said militants had established bases
in remote mountainous areas and crossed into Afghanistan in
the wake of operations by troops.

Pakistan says militants have recently launched several
attacks on border check posts from Afghan soil.

The Foreign Ministry summoned Afghan diplomats on two
occasions to protest over recent incursions.

Security sources said militants have carried out at
least four incursions into Pakistani territory from Afghan
soil in less than a month. The attacks killed nearly 40
Pakistani security personnel and civilians.

Pakistan raised the militant incursions from Afghan
territory with President Hamid Karzai when he visited
Islamabad during June 10-11.

Karzai promised to stop militants if it was proved
that they were using Afghan soil.

Pakistani Taliban deputy chief Maulvi Faqir Muhammad
said last week that he was in the northeastern Afghan province
of Kunar and would attack Pakistani forces in Bajaur Agency.

Another Pakistani Taliban leader, Maulana Fazlullah,
is believed to have crossed into Afghanistan`s Nuristan
province and has regrouped his fighters there.

Fazlullah led a bloody campaign against Pakistani
forces in the Swat valley during 2008-2009.

PTI

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