Backed by helicopter gunships, Pakistani security forces killed at least 60 pro-Taliban militants in a two-day offensive in the troubled Northwestern region bordering Afghanistan, officials said today.
Three security personnel also lost their lives in the clashes, which occurred in the Darra Adam Khel region of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the adjoining Bajaur tribal agency.
At least 50 militants were killed since yesterday in Darra Adam Khel area, 45 kms south of the NWFP capital of Peshawar, military spokesman Major Murad Khan told state-run APP news agency. One security personnel was also killed in the fighting in the region, he said.
In the restive Bajaur tribal region, where the Army has launched a crackdown against the Taliban, security forces killed 10 militants in Artillery attacks on several militant strongholds. Two security forces personnel were also killed in the fighting in Bajaur.
Following the clashes in Darra Adam Khel, security forces backed by helicopter gunships and Artillery took full control of the strategic Kohat tunnel that connects Peshawar with the southern districts of NWFP, Khan said.
The Kohat tunnel was severely damaged when militants had blown up an explosives-laden truck there a few months ago. They made several attempts to take over the tunnel in recent weeks.
To avoid further damage to the tunnel, law enforcing agencies launched an operation against the militants to flush them out from the area. Fresh clashes broke out yesterday after the security forces launched a search and cordon operation in the area.
Over 800 militants and some 30 security forces personnel have died since the army launched its operation in the tribal area over a month ago