Pakistan hits Taliban targets for second consecutive day

Miranshah: Pakistani troops, artillery and helicopter gunships hit targets in the country's tribal areas on Thursday, officials said, in a second day of military action against Taliban insurgents.

 Pakistan hits Taliban targets for second consecutive day

Reuters

The attacks in North Waziristan, a militant stronghold on the Afghan border, destroyed hundreds of shops and houses, officials said.

They came a day after air strikes and ground fighting killed at least 71 suspected militants and four security personnel in the same area.

Local residents and officials said thousands had started fleeing towards the garrison town of Bannu in neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to the unrest.

Intelligence officials told AFP that the bodies of two people killed in Thursday's action had so far been recovered, but the full death toll may only come to light after the fighting has ended.

The violence comes as another blow to peace talks between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which have made little progress since they began in February.

Troops backed by tanks, helicopter gunships and reconnaissance drones swung into action today, destroying shops and houses, local residents and officials said.

The official said a curfew had been imposed in the whole of North Waziristan.

"Artillery and helicopter gunships are targeting militant hideouts," a local intelligence official in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, told AFP.

He added that troops on the ground had begun a door to door search operation for militants.

"Troops also used explosives to blow up more than 100 houses belonging to militants in Machis Camp," the official said, referring to the neighbourhood on the outskirts of Miranshah which was once a camp for Afghan refugees but is now thought to be used by militants.

An official statement from the army said a military camp in Miranshah had come under attack from insurgents, who were successfully repelled.

AFP

Updated Date: May 23, 2014 07:36:47 IST