PESHAWAR/NORTH WAZIRISTAN - Fearing military operation, hundreds of families of the restive North Waziristan Agency started migration to safer places of Bannu and Peshawar downtowns on Wednesday.

As per the local sources, no fresh strikes were launched against militant hideouts in Mirali and Miranshah area on Wednesday. However, the people have been given time to shift to safer places ahead of full-fledged military offensive.

The migrated people mostly belonged to Oski, Masaki, Khado Khail Hassokhail, Amzoni areas of Mirali and Miranshah where last Tuesday targeted strikes were carried out against alleged militants.

On Tuesday night, security forces claimed that they have killed several high profile militants, including some foreigners when jet fighters bombed militants hideouts in Mirali and Miranshah area. They said that the killed persons included 33 Uzbak and three German nationals. They said that other Taliban members included Wali Mohammad, Asmat Shaheen Betani and Mulvi Farhad Uzbak. The air strikes targeting hideouts in Mir Ali, Miranshah and Tirah Valley came in response to the recent surge in militant attacks targeting security forces.

A security official had claimed that four hideouts were flattened in the blitz in the Inzar Kor area of the remote valley in Khyber Agency. The official repelled the impression that the attacks were a formal launch of a military offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates.

Security forces also claimed that 16 bodies of militants have been recovered from restive Tirah valley where forces flattened several hideouts of militants.

Taliban attacks have been increased in scope and magnitude even as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has renewed offer for peace talks in the aftermath of latest violence in the country.

Special force to protect polio workers: KPK Minister

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health Shaukat Yousafzai has said that to protect health workers from attacks, special force would be set up in the province, saying despite repeated attacks on polio workers anti-polio drive would not be halted.

The minister while talking to media persons on Wednesday said that provincial government has decided to continue anti-polio campaign in the province at all casts to eradicate the menace.

He said that security of the polio workers should be improved.  “A new plan was prepared in this regard according to which a special force would be set up to protect health workers,” he added.

He was of the view that the KPK government would not be deterred through such coward acts and children would be protected from being crippled. “We have prepared a new plan to eradicate the disease from the province,” he said. Under the new plan, a special anti-polio campaign would be undertaken in Peshawar on every Sunday.

He said that PTI’s volunteers and retired security personnel would be hired to complete the tough task.

 In this connection, the KPK government has asked for Rs4 billion from the federal government to implement the plan.