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Pakistan Army killed high level TTP commanders including Manan

20 December, 2014

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LANDIKOTAL/QUETTA/KARACHI: The Pakistani army said it has killed 59 militants, including some TTP commanders, in clashes in the northwest, including 32 in an ambush in a remote valley near the Afghan border, in intensified fighting since this week’s Taliban massacre of children at a school.

A TTP commander, Najamuddin, was shot dead and two others members of TTP arrested in a search operation launched by Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies in Ziarat early on Friday. Balochistan Home Secretary Akber Hussain Durani confirmed the killing, saying, “Acting on a tip-off Frontier Corps Balochistan along with security agencies launched a search operation in Sanjavi some 65km from District Ziarat where they confronted Tehreek-e Taliban TTP’s commander.”

The ambush took place overnight in the northwestern Tirah valley in the Khyber Agency, one of the main smuggling routes for arms and insurgents crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Security forces ambushed (the) moving group ... Fleeing terrorists left behind bodies of their accomplices,” the military said in a statement. There was no independent verification of the clash. The military also said late on Thursday that 17 militants were killed in air strikes in Khyber and 10 in ground fighting.

The army is fighting offensives against Pakistani Taliban insurgents in Khyber as well as the North Waziristan region, which is also on the Afghan border. But the pace of operations has picked up since Pakistani Taliban suicide attackers killed 132 schoolchildren, nine teachers and a soldier at a military-run high school in Peshawar on Tuesday. The assault was the deadliest militant attack ever in Pakistan. Footage of terrified children and classrooms awash with blood has provoked a wave of revulsion in a country mostly inured to daily violence.

The Pakistani Taliban, who are allied with but separate from the Afghan Taliban, said the school attack was revenge for the offensive against them and they accused the military of killing civilians in remote areas where journalists are forbidden to go. Since the school attack, the government has promised that Pakistan would not discriminate between different militant factions.

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