Security forces backed by fighter jets targeted Taliban positions in the volatile Orakzai tribal region in northwest Pakistan today, killing at least 15 militants and injuring two dozen more.
The air strikes by combat jets inflicted "heavy losses" on militants and destroyed about six hideouts in Samaa, Mamozai, Mullah Badai, Khadezai and Dabori areas of Orakzai Agency, sources said. The sources also stated that 15 militants were killed though local residents claimed over 20 people lost their lives in the air strikes.
The locals also said civilians were among the injured. The Inter-Services Public Relations, the army's media wing, had announced on June 2 that the operation in Orakzai Agency had been completed as the security forces had achieved all their targets. It also said most parts of lower Orakzai Agency had been purged of militants. However, independent sources and local residents said resistance by militants, who have taken refuge in mountainous areas after retreating from the plains, has increased and they are in no mood to give up despite sustaining major losses.
According to a rough estimate, 1,400 people, most of them militants, have been killed in the operation in Orakzai Agency during the past three-and-half months. Nearly 200 militant hideouts and training centres have been destroyed in ground and air offensives. The fighting forced around 60,000 people to leave the region and seek refuge in neighbouring areas.