A combination of airstrikes and ground offensives earlier this week killed at least 24 militants in Pakistan’s restive northwest, as part of the country's ongoing offensive against militancy, reports said, citing Pakistani government and military officials. Pakistan claims it has killed several hundred militants since a fresh offensive began in June.
Of the 24 dead, 17 local and foreign "terrorists" were killed during airstrikes, which were conducted on Tuesday in North Waziristan’s tribal region, The Associated Press (AP) reported, citing a military statement. The attack came after over 50 militants attacked a military post late Monday at Khyber Agency post, a tribal area near Peshawar in the country’s north where Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba are also based. The Pakistani army’s ground forces retaliated by opening fire on the militants and killing seven militants, according to AP.
"There are five Uzbek and two Haqqani network militants among those who have been killed in air strikes," an intelligence official said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Officials said, according to AP, that the militants had fled the region after the military opened gunfire, and added that police forces are currently combing the area to locate them. Two key militant commanders were also killed in the attack, according to Dawn, a local newspaper, which reported that 30 militants were killed in the attack.
According to Pakistan’s army, nearly 1,200 militants have been killed so far since the new offensive was launched in North Waziristan in June, AP reported, adding that government forces are now also conducting an operation in Khyber to apprehend those who have fled from North Waziristan.