23 Pakistani soldiers killed in clashes
10 April 2013, 10:55
Peshawar - Heavy fighting between Pakistani troops and
militants has killed 23 soldiers and scores of enemy fighters at a flashpoint
near the Afghan border, military officials said on Tuesday.
The clashes signalled a fresh military push in the Tirah
valley of Khyber district, where the military has been targeting Taliban and
militia Lashkar-e-Islam who threaten the nearby north-western city of Peshawar.
Khyber straddles the Nato supply line into Afghanistan,
used by US-led troops to evacuate military equipment ahead of their 2014
withdrawal, and officials say it is key to protecting security in Peshawar for
elections next month.
"Twenty-three soldiers have been martyred over the
past three days in different parts of Tirah valley," a military official
Ground forces have intensified operations against TTP
(Tehreek-e-Taliban) and Lashkar-e-Islam," the official said.
The official said at least 110 militants had also been
killed, but the death toll was not possible to verify independently as the area
is cut off to journalists and aid workers.
He said the town of Tut Sar had been "captured"
back from militants and that soldiers had now erected a post in the area.
"Helicopters and jets participated in the operation.
They are shelling militant hideouts in the valley," the official said.
A second military official confirmed the same details.
Pakistani troops have been fighting for years against
home-grown insurgents in the north-western tribal belt, where the US has
accused them of not doing enough to crack down on Taliban and other militants
active in Afghanistan.