ISLAMABAD, Feb 20 — At least 35 militants were killed Thursday as fighter jets targeted suspected insurgent hideouts in three different districts of the North Waziristan tribal region.
The bombardment comes a day after Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said a ceasefire can be negotiated upon if the army stopped targeting its members.
According to security sources, the aircraft bombarded suspected militant hideouts in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan as part of surgical strikes which they said should not be taken as military operation, reported Geo News.
“There are confirmed reports of 15 militants, including foreigners, killed in these airstrikes,” a senior security official said.
“Airstrikes were carried out to target militant hideouts with precision. A huge cache of arms and ammunition have also been destroyed,” the official said.
The sources said the strikes were carried out after military personnel took the civilian government into confidence citing potential threats to the people from terrorists holed up in their safe havens in the country’s tribal belt.
The attacks were aimed at protecting the people of Pakistan as the militants were making plans to carry out terrorist attacks.
They added that if the government decided to launch an operation, Pakistani warplanes would attack the militants in the first phase and other steps would be taken shortly after weather conditions improve in the region.
Peace talks between the Taliban and the government, announced Jan 29, got stalled recently due to a recent surge in insurgent attacks and a claim by a Taliban faction Sunday that it had killed 23 kidnapped security personnel.