Friday 26 December 2014

100 militants killed in airstrikes

Published 15/06/2014 | 04:42

A family member lights oil lamp to pay tribute to the victims of last Sunday's attack at the Jinnah International Airport, in Karachi, Pakistan (AP)
A family member lights oil lamp to pay tribute to the victims of last Sunday's attack at the Jinnah International Airport, in Karachi, Pakistan (AP)

As many as 100 militants have been killed in airstrikes in the northwestern tribal regions of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, intelligence officials said.

The airstrikes by the Pakistani military targeted eight militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal area.

The tribal areas are a remote and dangerous area that is difficult for journalists to access.

The airstrikes come a week after militants attacked the airport in Karachi in a five-hour siege that ended with the deaths of 36 people, including the 10 attackers.

Pakistani air force jets targeted eight militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal area. Many of the dead were believed to be Uzbeks and other foreign fighters, officials said.

One of those killed was Abu Abdul Rehman al-Maani, who is believed to have helped orchestrate the five-hour airport siege last Sunday.

Uzbek fighters and the Pakistani Taliban both claimed responsibility for the attack on Jinnah International Airport, and the Pakistani Taliban said the two had worked together to carry it out, marking a disturbing increase of militant groups working together.

When the jets struck, the militants had been gathered to discuss a deadline given by authorities for militants to leave the area.

Sunday's airstrike was the second against militants in the north-west. On Tuesday, Pakistani military jets targeted nine hideouts in the Tirah Valley, where the military said 25 suspected militants were killed, but the information could not be independently verified.

The area is part of a lawless terrain along the Afghan border that is home to a mix of local militants and al-Qaida-linked foreign fighters.

Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was elected last year in part for promising to end the years of militant violence through negotiations instead of military operations.

But only one round of direct talks between the government and the Pakistani Taliban has taken place and efforts have foundered in recent weeks. Now the question is whether Mr Sharif will authorise a much more aggressive military operation against the militants.

Press Association

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