40 ter­ror­ists killed in North Waziris­tan

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Se­cu­rity forces on Sun­day car­ried out aerial strikes in Shawal Val­ley that killed 40 ter­ror­ists, said a state­ment by the In­ter Ser­vices Public Re­la­tions (ISPR) - the army's media wing.

The state­ment said "se­cu­rity forces in on­go­ing Op­er­a­tion Zarb-i-Azb car­ried out pre­cise aerial strikes killing 40 ter­ror­ists. Strikes were car­ried out in Shawal Val­ley." The area is of­flim­its to jour­nal­ists, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to in­de­pen­dently ver­ify the num­ber and iden­tity of the dead. The army says it is con­duct­ing the fi­nal phase of Op­er­a­tion Zarb-i-Azb to flush out Tal­iban ter­ror­ists from their re­main­ing strongholds along the bor­der with Afghanistan.

In June a se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cial had told Dawn dur­ing a back­ground brief­ing on the eve of the first an­niver­sary of the com­mence­ment of Zarb-i-Azb that "pre­lim­i­nary prepa­ra­tions for the fi­nal push have started, which will be­gin next month."

A large num­ber of mil­i­tants flee­ing the op­er­a­tion in other parts of North Waziris­tan are be­lieved to have taken refuge in Shawal Val­ley, which is con­sid­ered to be an Al Qaeda sanc­tu­ary and a strong­hold of Gul Ba­hadur, a war­lord once con­sid­ered pro-gov­ern­ment.

Shawal has also been the fo­cus of US drone at­tacks this year with mul­ti­ple strikes hit­ting tar­gets in the val­ley in which dozens of sus­pected mil­i­tants were killed.

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