Pakistani forces say 39 militants killed in airstrikes

The Pakistani military says airstrikes carried out Friday evening in the North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border killed 39 militants. The military said several important militant commanders were killed.

Maqsood Mehdi/Reuters
A Pakistani soldier stands near the debris of a house which was destroyed during a military operation against Taliban militants in the town of Miranshah in North Waziristan in July. "It's a revenge attack for the army offensive in North Waziristan," Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani told Reuters following the attack at a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on December 16, in which, according to officials, at least 18 people were killed, including 16 pupils. Pakistani forces launched their first major offensive in years against Taliban militants in the North Waziristan region, near the Afghan border, in June 2014.

Pakistani warplanes and ground forces killed 39 militants as part of an ongoing operation in a volatile tribal region near the Afghan border, the Pakistani military said.

The airstrikes were carried out Friday evening in the Datta Khel area of the North Waziristan tribal region, an army statement said Saturday, adding that an underground tunnel system and a large underground cache of weapons and ammunition were also destroyed.

The military claimed several important militant commanders were among the dead, but didn't provide further details on the identities of the slain militants.

Also late Friday night, Pakistani troops ambushed a large assembly of militants on the border between the Orakzai and Khyber tribal regions, the statement said.

It said an intense battle took place in which 16 militants were killed and another 20 injured. Four army soldiers were also injured in the shootout, the statement said.

Journalists are barred from the region and it is impossible to independently verify the information.

The army says it has killed over 1,200 militants since the start of a massive offensive launched June 15 against militants in North Waziristan. The military offensive was launched after a terrorist attack on Pakistan's largest airport in Karachi.

The North Waziristan tribal region is one of seven tribal regions near the Afghan border where local and foreign militants have found safe haven for years. A parallel government offensive is taking place in the neighboring Khyber tribal region to pursue militants fleeing the North Waziristan offensive.

Associated Press Writer Riaz Khan contributed to this report from Peshawar, Pakistan.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.