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Pakistan Launches Airstrikes on Militants Near Afghan Border

  • VOA News

Pakistan and Afghanistan

Pakistan and Afghanistan

Pakistan's Military says air strikes have killed 23 militants in the country's northwestern tribal regions near the Afghan border.

A military statement Sunday said Pakistan's air force struck a huge ammunition dump in the strikes in Khyber and North Waziristan districts. It also said some foreigners were killed, but did not give their identity or disclose who they fought for.

Khyber has long been known as a stronghold for militants belonging to the Pakistani Taliban and its Lashkar-e-Islam faction.

The military began an offensive in Khyber in October 2014 carrying out air strikes and using artillery, mortars and ground troops.

The remote area is off-limits to journalists the army's claims have not been independently verified.

Pakistan's government has vowed to intensify operations to take back territory in the border regions from insurgents and the Taliban.

The military says it has killed more than 2,700 militants since the launch of the offensive a year ago. At least "218 hardcore terrorists" were also killed and 347 officers and soldiers lost their lives in the ongoing operation, according to the military.

The Pakistani Taliban used to control all of North Waziristan, a mountainous forested region that includes the Shawal Valley and key smuggling routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan. But Pakistan's military has recaptured most of it.

NATO forces had long urged Pakistan to take control of the northwest and border regions, saying Taliban safe havens in Pakistan were being used to attack NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

Afghan officials have said the Pakistani army offensive has driven large numbers of fighters over the border, complicating the war in Afghanistan's east and north.

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