ISLAMABAD - At least 135 militants have so far been taken out in the security forces ongoing drive against terrorists in Fata (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), with two surgical missions in Waziristan region on Tuesday resulting in the reported elimination of 34 militants
According to informed insiders at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), the Pakistan Army and the PAF have so far launched six surgical missions killing 129 militants whereas seven miscreants, it is learnt, were fatally targeted in a ground action in the Lower Kurram Agency.
On Tuesday, two separate surgical missions jointly launched by the PAF and the military were said to have killed 34 militants collectively in Shawal Valley (dividing North and South Waziristan Agencies) as well as a village in NWA, the security officials said. Specifically, 10 militants, the PAF sources said, were targeted in Prayghar and eight militants in Razan Nala, the two villages are located in Shawal Valley separate airstrikes by the military’s Cobra helicopters and PAF gunship choppers were launched.
Twelve terrorists were purportedly killed in a similar aerial strike in Ghariom Village in NWA. The security officials and the political administration concerned did not confirm if any TTP commander was among the dead but claimed that the militants’ death toll of 34 was confirmed.
“Heavy losses were inflicted on the terrorists,” claimed NWA Political Agent Siraj Ahmed Khan. Regarding the reports that thousands of the internally-displaced persons (IDPs) who have moved to Peshawar, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and other parts due to the security forces action await humanitarian assistance, Siraj said the political administration was in contact with the provincial authorities and the military officials to facilitate the IDPs. “It is our top priority,” he told The Nation.
An official at the Fata Secretariat in Peshawar, requesting anonymity, stated that Secretariat and military authorities were in contact with the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the preparation of the related data concerning IDPs including their number and humanitarian needs.
“We believe, the displacement process would continue for the next few weeks. The UN has launched assessment missions in conflict zones to determine the scale of displacements and to formulate priorities in consultation with the Government of Pakistan,” the official said.
In retaliation to the deadly attacks from the TTP on security personnel and civilian population in different parts of the country, the Pakistan Army and the PAF had waged three surgical missions, two in NWA and one in Khyber Agency, during the predawn hours of Thursday.
Up to 50 militants (47 confirmed) were taken out in the these missions whereby 38 miscreants were said to be killed as a result of shelling on their compounds in the four villages of Mir Ali (NWA)-Khushali, Aidak, Khasokhel and Haiderkhel and nine terrorists were purportedly eliminated in Bara subdivision of Khyber Agency.
The TTP commanders Jihadyar Mehsud, Sailab Wazir, Abdul Razzaq Wazir and others were the reported casualties of these assaults.
On Friday, the ground action was reportedly initiated in the Lower Kurram Agency and the ground reinforcements were pre-positioned in different parts across Fata to provide what the officials described was the augmenting security cover to the aerial strikes’ missions. So far, at least seven militants are reportedly taken out in the targeted crackdowns in the Lower Kurram Agency.
On Saturday, at least nine TTP terrorists including a commander were reportedly killed in the Darsumand and Torwari villages of Hangu as the security forces stretched the surgical strikes’ outreach from tribal agencies to the militancy-infected settled areas. Identified as Noor Muhammad, the slain commander had reportedly masterminded several terror attempts on the security forces in Fata including the deadly attack on Frontier Corps personnel in Bannu Cantonment last month that resulted in the loss of 22 men. On Sunday, the PAF fighter jets had attacked militant hideouts in the Tirah Valley of the Khyber Agency eliminating 38 militants.
The gunship choppers, the PAF sources say, have ensured target precision to avoid collateral damage. “The fighter jets have more powerful surgical impact compared with the gunship choppers but the choppers are more efficient in terms of precision. There are certain terrains where the use of fighter planes is inevitable because the use of choppers becomes too risky there,” the insiders commented.