Pakistani forces have killed up to 1,000 Islamist militants in fighting in the strategically important northwestern region of Bajaur this month, an army commander said on Friday.
Bajaur is an important hub for militants, providing access to surrounding Pakistani regions as well as the eastern Afghan province of Kunar, said Major-General Tariq Khan.
US officials say Taliban and al Qaeda-linked fighters use the tribal regions as an operating base to launch attacks inside Afghanistan, where Western forces are struggling to stem a growing insurgency.
Khan estimated that 65 per cent of the militant problem would be eliminated if they were defeated in Bajaur. “If they lose here, they’ve lost almost everything.”
Tang Khatta was a militant stronghold that Khan’s men recently captured. Khan said his men had taken 90 prisoners, adding that was an unusually high number and showed that the militants were not running away.