Security forces claim to kill 60 militants in Pak

Peshawar: The Pakistani Taliban today blew up the home of a pro-government tribal elder, injuring 10 members of his family, even as security forces claimed they had killed about 60 militants during operations in the lawless tribal belt.

Militants detonated explosives planted around the home of Malik Zaliman Shah in Aliabad area of Hangu district early last morning.

Ten members of his family were injured when they were buried in the rubble of the house.

A nearby mosque was also flattened by the blast. Local residents dug the people out of the debris and took them to hospitals in Kohat and Peshawar.

After surviving a grenade attack one year ago, Malik Zaliman Shah had shifted from Aurakzai Agency to Hangu.

Hafiz Ziaullah, spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban in Aurakzai tribal region, claimed responsibility for the attack.

He told reporters in Hangu by phone from an undisclosed location that tribal elders supporting the government's operations against militants would meet the same fate.

Militant commanders Muhammad Tufail alias Abdullah and Muhammad Iqbal were killed in an exchange of fire with security forces in an area near Peshawar where troops are conducting Operation Spring Cleaning to flush out rebels.

Muhammad Tufail headed a local chapter of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and was involved in several attacks on Nowshera cantonment.

Muhammad Iqbal was also a Taliban commander and a key supplier of suicide jackets and explosives to militants Islamabad and other cities, said a spokesman for the Frontier Corps.

Meanwhile, the Frontier Corps Inspector General, Maj Gen Tariq Khan, said troops had killed 54 militants, including seven commanders, in an operation against rebels in Bajaur tribal region.

Khan told a news briefing in Khar, headquarters of Bajaur Agency, that influential circles in the Kunar area of Afghanistan were responsible for supporting militants in Pakistan.

Influential persons, including the Khan of Kunar, are supporting militants from across the border, he added.

Security forces have tightened security along the border with Afghanistan and were using satellites to monitor movements of militants.

Troops have secured control of all parts of Bajaur Agency and the law and order situation in the region has improved, he said.