Major and Six Soldiers down in Tirrah Valley Clashes
PESHAWAR: One officer and six soldiers were killed and 30 troops were injured in clashes at Tirrah Valley, Sources said.
The clashes broke out after militants recaptured Khyber Sungar Post near the border with Afghanistan. The bodies of the troops who died in the clashes and the injured soldiers were taken to the Combined Military Hospital in Peshawar. The deceased officer has been identified as Major Gulfam who hailed from Kurram Agency.
The sources said security forces later regained all positions, including Khyber Sungar Post.
An official said troops had also captured important ridges, including Ghulam Ali hilltop, Takhtakai and Nagrosa tops. He said security forces had for the first time entered the areas in Tirah. Security forces had launched the Khyber-II offensive last week to flush out militants of Lashkar-e-Islam and other banned outfits from the area.
The Inter-Services Public Relations has claimed that more than 80 militants have been killed and 100 wounded in the fresh offensive. Militants have denied the official claim which could not be verified from independent sources because media has no access to the area.
Security forces expelled elements of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam from Bara, after the Khyber-I operation was launched last year. Bara has been handed over to political administration and internally displaced persons have started returning to their homes.
According to a separate report in Landi Kotal, 24 militants were killed and several others injured when helicopter gunships pounded suspected militant hideouts in the valley.
The main targets of the air attacks were areas considered to be strongholds of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam militant group. The areas included Sadana, Maza Thal and Khyber Sungar. At least five militant hideouts were destroyed.
Meanwhile, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif arrived in Peshawar on Sunday and was briefed on the military operation in Khyber Agency. Corps Commander Lt Gen Hidayatur Rehman and senior officers attended the briefing at the corps headquarters.
The ISPR said in a statement that Gen Sharif was briefed on the overall security situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata, the progress in the Zarb-e-Azb operation and the ongoing operations in Khyber Agency. The statement said that steady progress was being made in the area.
The ISPR said that Gen Sharif reaffirmed the army’s determination to take the operation to its logical conclusion. He said terrorists would be cornered in isolated pockets. He vowed to continue the operation and wipe out all terrorists from urban centres and remote areas for the sake of the country’s peace and prosperity. The army chief also visited wounded soldiers at the CMH. He praised the resolve and indomitable spirit of the troops.
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