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Tirah Valley cleared of terrorists: army

05 September, 2013

PESHAWAR: The security forces have cleared Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency of the Taliban militants and restored the government's writ after a successful operation that killed 104 militants and injured 64 others.

At least eight soldiers, including an officer, were lost during the operation. Operational Commander Major General Humayun Aziz said this while briefing a team of visiting journalists in Tirah Valley on Wednesday. The journalists visited the headquarters of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Bagh and the room of the group's chief, Hakimullah Mehsud.

The militants have fled to Afghanistan to avoid arrest or being killed by the forces, General Aziz said. Foreign militants of Uzbek origin have also been killed in the operation that continued for 22 days, starting on May 28 and culminating on June 20, he added.

The operation was conducted in 99 villages of Maidan and Bagh. The militants have burnt 90 percent of houses in both the areas, he said, adding that initially army had reports of the presence of 1,000 to 1,500 militants in these areas but during the course of fighting they were found to be no more than 500.

To a query, the operational commander said that Taliban militants associated with different outfits from Bajaur, Swat, Mohmand and Aurakzai agencies had taken shelter in these areas.

The militants had occupied hilltops in the area and continued to fire at the forces from their positions which have now been captured. General Aziz said that 40,000 persons were dislocated due to operation in Tirah valley.

End.

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