Pakistan army launches new air strikes near Afghan border
At least 27 killed as militant hideouts targeted
Pakistani security officials inspect the site of a suicide bomb blast near the Iranian consulate, in Peshawar, Pakistan on February 24th, 2014. At least two soldiers were killed and 10 injured in a suicide bombing near the Iranian consulate. Photograph: Bilawal Arbab/EPA
Pakistan’s army launched new air strikes targeting militant hideouts in the tribal region of North Waziristan today, killing at least 27 people, military officials said.
Pakistani fighter jets have been pounding targets in the region since the government’s efforts to engage Taliban insurgents in peace negotiations broke down this month.
North Waziristan residents have been trickling out of the troubled region in recent days anticipating a full-scale military offensive, leaving their homes and villages behind and settling in more peaceful areas such as Bannu, Kohat and Peshawar.
“The militants had captured a stretch between South Waziristan and North Waziristan and had established training centres where they were also preparing suicide bombers,” said one military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Fifteen were killed in the South Waziristan side of the border, while 12 were killed in North Waziristan.”
The latest air strikes mainly took place in the Shawal valley and Dattakhel areas of North Waziristan where militant training facilities and compounds are said to be located.
It was impossible to verify how many civilians might have been killed or wounded in the attacks.
Negotiations broke down this month and the Islamist Taliban told the government there was no chance of peace in Pakistan unless Islamabad changed its political and legal system and officially embraced Islamic law.