Islamabad: Pakistani security forces
on Wednesday used helicopter gunships and artillery to shell Taliban
hideouts in the restive North Waziristan tribal region, a day
after a roadside bomb attack in the area killed three
soldiers, tribesmen said.
Scores of militants, several civilians and at least
three soldiers were injured during the shelling and exchanges
of fire, local journalists quoted security sources as saying.
This was the first time in years that security forces
used helicopters and artillery to bomb militant hideouts in
The main Taliban faction in the region, led by
commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, denied involvement in yesterday`s
attack in Datta Khel area, 45 km from Miranshah, the main town
in North Waziristan Agency.
Three soldiers were killed and 15 more injured in the
Security forces dynamited a private hospital on the
Miranshah-Datta Khel road this morning following reports that
it was used by the militants to attack a security forces
The hospital belongs to the father of Kamran Khan, a
A Taliban group that is not part of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan said it had launched a campaign to identify those who had attacked the convoy yesterday.
"There will be no misunderstanding in the future," a
militant spokesman told reporters in Miranshah.
Tribesmen closed shops in the main Miranshah market
after security forces shelled militant positions at Darpakhel
Srai on the outskirts of the town.
The local phone network was suspended for several
hours, residents said.
Power supply too was suspended in parts of North
Waziristan as at least 10 electricity transformers were
damaged by the shelling, tribesmen said.
The security forces declared an alert and closed two
main roadside checkpoints at Ali Shah and Khajori.
A militant spokesman said a 2007 peace deal with the
government was still in place and the militants would trace
and punish those behind yesterday`s attack.
Tribal elders and religious leaders too vowed to
punish the attackers under local traditions and asked the army
and political administration to show restraint.
Taliban commanders and tribal elders acted quickly to
avoid further escalation and authorities later lifted a curfew
imposed in Miranshah and adjoining areas to ease tension.
Prominent local leaders, including Mauvi Gul Ramzan,
Hafiz Noorullah Shah, Malik Jalal, Malik Eid Muhammad, Malik
Farid and Maulvi Saleem Umar Gul, assured authorities that the
attackers would not escape traditional punishment.