The Pakistani military said its jets killed 35 suspected militants on Wednesday as part of an anti-Taliban offensive hours after US drones attacked another area nearby and killed up to 20 people.
The violence in Pakistan comes as the US struggles to bring stability to neighbouring Afghanistan before most of its forces pull out after 12 years of inconclusive war.
On Wednesday, Pakistani jets killed 35 suspected militants in the Shawal valley, a remote militant stronghold on the Pakistani side of the border opposite Afghanistan’s Paktika, Pakistani military officials said.
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The military said that the jets targeted members of the Pakistani Taliban and included Uzbeks, Chechens and Arab fighters, who had fled to the remote Shawal region from the military’s offensive launched last month.
“These terrorists were earlier evicted from (the towns of) Mir Ali and Miranshah and they took refuge in the forests of the Shawal valley where jets have been targeting their positions,” one Pakistani official said.
Hours earlier, US drone aircraft attacked militants in Datta Khel, a town in North Waziristan region near the border. Resident Malik Wakil Khan, said 18 bodies had been recovered from the rubble of a compound.
Pakistani security officials gave tolls of from 15 to 20 killed.
Pakistani military officials said there was no connection between their air strikes in the Shawal Valley and the US attack in North Waziristan.
Key Taliban commander arrested
Dera Ismail Khan: Two Pakistani intelligence officials say that forces have arrested a key Taliban commander linked to a 2003 assassination attempt on Pervez Musharraf.The officials said on Wednesday that Adnan Rashid was captured last Friday during a raid at a home in the South Waziristan region. The officials say Rashid was hiding there after fleeing from North Waziristan.In 2003, a suicide bomber tried to ram Musharraf’s vehicle near Islamabad. Rashid was later convicted and imprisoned, but escaped during a jail break orchestrated by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012. AP