At least 23 Taliban militants were reportedly killed in airstrikes in Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan region on Friday, the Pakistani army said in a statement released Saturday. In a separate operation Friday, the country's security forces killed at least 16 militants and injured over 20 near a military checkpoint in the Orakzai Agency -- a tribal-dominated region in Pakistan's northwest, according to local media reports.
The announcement by the military comes less than a day after it declared that it had killed “commander Saddam” -- a Taliban militant believed to have played a key role in the attacks on an army-run school in Peshawar last week -- in an operation in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region.
“In very effective and precise aerial strikes in North Waziristan this evening, 23 terrorists including some key commanders were killed,” Pakistan’s military reportedly said, in the statement.
Besides killing several important commanders of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the army also claimed that the operation destroyed an underground tunnel network used by the militants, according to media reports.
The latest offensive by Pakistan's military was reportedly carried out as part of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which was launched in North Waziristan in June to destroy the last remaining strongholds of the TTP and its affiliated groups.
According to local media reports, the military claims to have killed over 2,100 militants, including many foreign fighters, since the start of the operation. The U.S. has also carried out frequent drone strikes in the region, most recently on Friday when it killed at least seven suspected militants in two separate attacks on Taliban strongholds.