At least 15 people have been killed Tuesday in the Tirah Valley area of the Khyber tribal district in an early morning air strike by Pakistan’s military aimed at destroying terrorist hideouts, less than 36 hours after a bold attack on the country's busiest airport by the Pakistani Taliban.
A statement from the army reportedly stated that about nine “terrorist hideouts” were destroyed in the raid, after questions were raised about ability of security forces to defend key facilities such as Jinnah International Airport, which was infiltrated by militants carrying guns and grenades in an attack that stretched from late Sunday night until Monday morning. Ten of the 36 people killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, were militants.
"There is an urgent need to neutralise such attacks and the government should take firm action in the areas which are their hideouts," Talat Masood, a retired general and security analyst, said, according to Agence France-Presse. "A simultaneous action should be taken against the militants in Karachi and elsewhere along with North Waziristan."
The air strike by the country's military is reportedly the latest in the area, which lies in the country's restive northern border with Afghanistan, after peace talks with the TTP failed.
The last attack by the government against the feared militant outfit was carried out in late May in North Waziristan, which reportedly killed at least 70 people and displaced more than 55,000 from the district. In April, Khyber district was targeted by the Pakistani army in an aerial bombing that killed at least 37 people.
Pakistani Taliban commander Abdullah Bahar has reportedly claimed that the attack on the Karachi airport was to avenge the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, the militant outfit's former head who was killed in a drone attack in November.
"This was just an example of what we are capable of and there is more to come. The government should be ready for even worse attacks," Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman said Monday, according to Reuters.