Airstrikes kill 40 militants in northwest Pakistan

Last Updated: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 21:55

Peshawar: Helicopter gunships pounded
Taliban positions in Pakistan`s northwestern tribal region on Sunday killing at least 40 insurgents, and injuring 10 others
as they destroyed seven militant hideouts.

The Taliban meanwhile freed 50 of the 60 people
kidnapped a day earlier in the adjoining Kurram tribal agency.

A security official in Orakzai said the gunship helis
targeted four rebel hideouts in Dabori, Wali Kamar, and Gujar
Kalay, believed to be used as a preparing ground for attacks
on security forces.

"All positions were engaged and destroyed
effectively", said the security official on condition of
anonymity.

Major Fazal-ur-Rehman, a spokesman of paramilitary
Frontier Corps, that is spearheading the offensive on Taliban
and al Qaeda in the lawless tribal region, confirmed the
attacks.

Reports said 40 militants died in two rounds of
shelling in the same areas.

Pakistani troops moved into Orakzai in March to quell
the insurgency. The military claims it has killed more than
700 militants since then, while losing 18 soldiers.

Meanwhile, 50 people kidnapped by Taliban militants
from the adjoining Kurram district, have been set free.

Sixty people were kidnapped by dozens of militants who
appeared dressed as policemen.

Khalid Omarzai, Commisioner Kohat Division, said
efforts were underway to gain the release of the other 10
people still held.

Omarzai claimed the rebels released the captives
unconditionally.

The military is also conducting an operation against
militants in Kurram agency, which has been a scene of bloody
clashes between Shiite and Sunni tribesmen as well as a rising
Islamist insurgency.

Sunni tribesmen usually get support from the Taliban.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 21:55

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