Pak army storms Taliban stronghold: military | world | Hindustan Times
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Pak army storms Taliban stronghold: military

world Updated: Nov 03, 2009 21:12 IST

Pakistan said on Tuesday troops had stormed into another important Taliban stronghold, killing 16 militants and seeking to expand their control in a blistering air and ground offensive.

Around 30,000 ground troops advancing on three fronts and backed by warplanes and attack helicopters are pressing a major offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for a third week in South Waziristan.

"Security forces have commenced sanitisation of Sararogha," the military announced in a statement. No official was immediately reachable for comment.

Sararogha is one of the most strategic towns where ground and air forces are fighting in the forbidding mountains on the Afghan border. US officials say Al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on the West from the lawless tribal belt.

Sixteen militants and one soldier were killed in fighting so far in the town, the military said.

Overall, 21 militants were killed in the last 24 hours, pushing the total number to 364 since the operation started, according to information provided by the army. The army has reported the deaths of 37 soldiers.

The military provides the only regular information coming from the frontlines. None of the details can be verified because communication lines are down and journalists and aid workers barred from the area.

Militants fired six rockets on the town of Kanigurram, another Taliban operational centre and Uzbek fighter stronghold, which the forces captured on Monday, but there were no reports of damage or casualties.

"Forces are also extending on the adjoining ridges to increase their area of influence," the army said.