Pakistani forces on Sunday killed 33 alleged militants in the lawless northwest Khyber district, the military said, in a fresh push against Islamist insurgents in the border region.
The military launched an offensive in the tribal district, home to the fabled Khyber pass into neighbouring Afghanistan, six days ago after a suicide bomber blew himself up near a border post killing 22 policemen.
“Security forces today targeted Tarkhokas camp (and) Narai Baba Markaz,” the paramilitary Frontier Corps said in a statement in English.
“Both centres and six vehicles got destroyed. Thirty-three militants also got killed in this operation.”
Frontier Corps spokesman Major Fazl Rehman said helicopter gunships and fighter jets strafed the insurgent boltholes, with the strikes targeting fighters with the Lashkar-e-Islam (Army of Islam).
Lashkar-e-Islam is a militant group battling the government in Khyber, which sits between Pakistan’s northwest capital Peshawar and Afghanistan.
The group has some ties to the Pakistan Taliban, headquartered further south in the semi-autonomous district of South Waziristan.
On Saturday, the army said 43 militants had been killed in Khyber, but their tolls are impossible to confirm independently.
Khyber is on the main land and supply route through Pakistan into Afghanistan, where international forces are battling a Taliban insurgency.
Pakistan’s government has claimed a number of military successes against the Islamist hardliners this year, but attacks continue across the country, mostly in the northwest.
Hundreds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters sought refuge in the mountainous northwest and tribal areas after the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.