Pak Army consolidates positions around Sararogha; 32 killed



Islamabad: The Pakistani military was engaged in fierce battles in the Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan to consolidate positions around the rebel base of Sararogha as 30 militants and two soldiers were killed in clashes in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

Twenty militants were killed and eight soldiers, including an officer, injured in fighting in different parts of South Waziristan over the past 24 hours, the military said.

Ten rebels and two soldiers were killed in fighting in Mohmand tribal region, officials said.

Security forces strengthened their positions around the Taliban stronghold of Sararogha and nearby villages.

Three militants were killed in a skirmish in this area.

Troops in the militant stronghold of Makeen and nearby areas were targeted with small arms and rockets during search and clearance operations.

Five militants were killed in retaliatory action.

The heaviest fighting was reported from around the former Taliban stronghold of Kaniguram, where 12 militants were killed and eight soldiers, including an officer, injured during a gun battle.

The military said troops were conducting search operations in this area and had seized a huge quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives, including RPG-7 rockets, IEDs and 15 sacks of potassium chloride.

Soldiers also found a facility for making electrical circuits and remote controls for IEDs.

In Mohmand Agency, 10 militants and two soldiers were killed during clashes in Zachmir Kund area, officials said.

The fighting began when militants attacked security forces during a search operation.

Five security personnel were injured during the clashes that continued for about four hours.

The military says over 480 militants and more than 40 soldiers have died so far in fighting in South Waziristan though these figures cannot be independently verified as journalists have no access to the conflict zone.

The Army has mobilised over 30,000 troops for Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation), which is aimed at flushing out an estimated 10,000 Taliban and foreign fighters.

Security forces also continued search and clearance operations in the northwestern Swat valley, where 18 militants were arrested while three rebels surrendered to authorities.

Bureau Report