Pakistan Army clears two terrorist strongholds in Khyber Agency near Afghanistan border

Lahore: The Pakistani Army on Sunday announced that it has cleared two strongholds of terrorists in restive Khyber Agency bordering Afghanistan after gaining control of a key mountain top.

 Pakistan Army clears two terrorist strongholds in Khyber Agency near Afghanistan border

File image of Pakistan Army soldiers. Reuters.

The army captured two major passes in Rajgal Valley connecting Pakistan to Afghanistan.

"Terrorists hideouts are being targeted by artillery and army aviation. Terrorists are on the run," the army said in a statement.

"The Pakistan flag fluttered 12,000 feet above sea level, on the Brekh Muhammad Kandao peak in the rugged Rajgal Valley of Khyber Agency, much sooner than anticipated after Pakistani forces completed Phase-I of Operation Khyber-IV," it said.

Two soldiers have been martyred in the operation in which over 90 square kilometres of a total of 250 square kilometres have been cleared, the army said.

The operation is being conducted by a division-size force supported by commandos, artillery, aviation and air force in the area that was infested with hideouts of the banned Lashkar-i-Islam, Jamaatul Ahrar and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

The operation has been launched to prevent the Islamic State terror group from making forays into Pakistan from its stronghold in Nangarhar across the Afghan border through collaboration with Pakistani terrorist groups having sanctuaries in the Rajgal Valley.

Brekh Muhammad Kandao, near the border with Afghanistan, is the highest and craggiest mountain top. The clearance of the mountain top by special services troops was described as a major achievement.

Terrorists had set up an observation post at the top of the mountain and stored arms and ammunition at its base.

The army said the mountain top was cleared after a tough fight with the terrorists, who had been holding it.

"Terrorists gave stiff resistance but couldnt sustain against determination of Pakistani troops. Many terrorists were killed, few fled to Afghanistan. Terrorists hideout was dismantled, and cache of IEDs, arms and ammunition was recovered," it said.

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Updated Date: Jul 23, 2017 19:05:47 IST