Clashes in Pakistan kill 3 soldiers, 22 militants
Islamabad: Three security personnel and 22 militants were killed today in clashes in Pakistan's tribal region and southwestern Balochistan province.
The military said the security forces captured two strong hideouts of the militants in the mountainous Tirah Valley in Khyber tribal region late yesterday.
"In a successful operation security forces last night captured Kismet Sur and Sanghar, two strong hideouts of militants in Tirah Valley, killing 16 miscreants," a military statement said, adding two security personnel were also killed and three were injured during the operation.
"The militants were seen fleeing from areas leaving behind a huge cache of arms and ammunition," it said.
There was no independent confirmation of the casualties as journalists' access to the area is restricted.
Tirah Vally, bordering Afghanistan, is under the control of the Pakistani Taliban and another militant group Lashkar-e-Islam.
Pakistani forces have not yet succeeded to enter the valley due to presence of the Taliban and other militants as well as lack of roads. The security forces are using fighter jets and gunships in operations.
Meanwhile, military sources said the security forces foiled an attempt by militants to launch attack on an election rally in Balochistan, killing at least six them.
"On an intelligence tip off that an attack was impending on an election rally in Sibbi, Balochistan, the Frontier Corps troops surrounded the miscreants," the sources said.
The militants fired at the security personnel and during the exchange of fire six fighters and one soldier were killed.
Pre-election violence in Pakistan has claimed lives of dozens of people including several candidates and political activists over the past three weeks.
Twin bomb blasts near the office of the Mutahida Qaumi Movement killed at least three people and injured over 40 in the port city of Karachi late Saturday.
The MQM is today observing mourning day in Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital.
Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attacks and its spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said the attacks were part of the plan to target three liberal parties.