Eight die in Pakistan offensive against militants in the Khyber Pass
The effort, launched on the main supply route to Afghanistan, has suspended supplies sent to US and NATO forces there.
Eight people have been killed as Pakistani authorities launched an operation against militants in the Khyber Pass area on Tuesday. To carry out the offensive, which is targeting Taliban militants who have been attacking US and NATO supply vehicles in recent months, the government has imposed a curfew along the main route to Afghanistan and suspended all supplies to NATO forces based there.Skip to next paragraph
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Pakistani security forces sent tanks, helicopter gunships and artillery units into the lawless Khyber tribal region on the Afghan border before dawn, the area's administrator Tariq Hayat told reporters in Peshawar.
"We have launched an operation against militants and armed groups in Jamrud," the gateway to the Khyber Pass, Hayat said.
The main highway linking Peshawar to the border town of Torkham has been shut down until the operation is complete, he said, adding: "Supplies to NATO forces have temporarily been suspended."...
"This is a giant operation. It will continue until we achieve our objective," Hayat said, adding that the operation could be expanded beyond the area near Jamrud – located between Peshawar and Torkham – if necessary.
The military had identified 26 militant sites to target, Mr. Hayat said.
He said the local Kukikhel tribe had been found to be harbouring Taleban militants....
The BBC's Charles Haviland in Islamabad says attention is now shifting back to the troubles in the Afghan border region, after a month of heightened tensions with India after the attacks on Mumbai [formerly Bombay].
Security forces launched the operation against militants after they ignored a deadline to surrender, reports the Associated Press. It is unclear how long the operation will last and when NATO supply lines will resume.
Eight persons, including two militants, two children and two women, were killed in shelling in Jamrud sub-district of Khyber Agency, TV channels reported. Local residents said heavy artillery and gunship helicopters were used to pound militant positions in mountainous areas....
Officials said the offensive is currently focussed on Jamrud, the main town in Khyber Agency that is located on the key highway. The operation is aimed at restoring the government's writ in the area and will continue till all militants from four groups, including the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, are flushed out of the region, they said.