Nine suspected militants killed in Orakzai airstrikes
PESHAWAR: Nine suspected militants were killed and three hideouts demolished in airstrikes conducted by Pakistani security forces in the upper Orakzai tribal region, DawnNews reported on Thursday.
According to assistant political agent Rafiq Mohmand, the airstrikes took place in the Arghanjo area of the upper Orakzai tribal area.
An ongoing military offensive against suspected militants in the tribal agency appears to have gained momentum, with security forces claiming to have killed dozens of militants and destroyed their hideouts in the past week.
Security officials claim that up to 92 per cent of Orakzai agency has been cleared of militants in the ongoing military offensive in the restive tribal region.
Orakzai is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal regions in the northwest, where Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants are said to have carved out strongholds.
The area was the original base of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud before he moved to South Waziristan to take up the Taliban leadership after the death of his predecessor, Baituallah Mehsud.
Unlike the six other tribal agencies, however, Orakzai does not border Afghanistan. The rugged mountainous territory provides a crucial link for militants operating in other tribal regions, as it borders the regions of Khyber and Kurram on the Afghan frontier. It also borders Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Pakistan’s main northwestern city, as well as the garrison town of Kohat.