Pakistan military claims killing 47 Taliban insurgents

Pakistan`s military Thursday claimed to have killed at least 47 Taliban fighters in two days of airstrikes in the restive northwest as part of anti-insurgent offensives that began last year.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s military Thursday claimed to have killed at least 47 Taliban fighters in two days of airstrikes in the restive northwest as part of anti-insurgent offensives that began last year.

The latest strikes hit the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan tribal district, close to the Afghan border, considered a stronghold of Taliban insurgents. The area has been repeatedly targeted by US drones in the past.

"Twenty-two terrorists were killed in precise aerial strikes late last night in (an) area (close to) Datta Khel in North Waziristan Agency," the military said in a statement Thursday.

The military has been stepping up its response Pakistan`s Islamist insurgency, which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians since 2004 when Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants fled from Afghanistan to its tribal areas.

Thursday`s attacks come the day after 20 militants were killed in the Tirah valley of Khyber tribal district, where the Pakistani Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam groups have strongholds.

"In precise aerial strikes in Tirah, Khyber, today, 20 terrorists -- including three suicide bombers -- were killed. Destroyed hideouts of terrorists include their ammo and ration dumps," the military said in a statement late Wednesday.

In another incident late Wednesday, the military said it had killed five insurgents in a search operation in Shakto area of South Waziristan tribal district. 

Khyber is one of seven autonomous tribal districts along Pakistan`s mountainous western border, which became a hotbed of Islamist militants following the US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan in 2001.

The military began its latest offensive in Khyber in October 2014, four months after by a bloody Taliban attack on Karachi airport ended peace talks and triggered a similar operation began in North Waziristan district.

Airstrikes, artillery, mortars and ground troops have all been used to take back territory.

Both conflict zones are off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to verify the number and identity of those killed.