Military statement says some foreigners among suspected militants killed in air attack.
The military said it killed 35 militants in fresh airstrikes early Sunday as part of a major offensive against the Taliban and other insurgents in the northwest.
Officials said the air attacks were mounted in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan. “In precise aerial strikes 35 terrorists including some foreigners were killed today … ” a military statement said.
Arab and Central Asian militants, who sought sanctuary in the tribal areas after fleeing the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, are often classified as “foreigners” by Pakistan’s armed forces. The conflict zone is off-limits to journalists, so there is no way to independently verify the number and identity of those killed.
Pakistan began a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from North Waziristan last June after a bloody Taliban attack on Karachi airport finally sank faltering peace talks. Airstrikes, artillery, mortars and ground troops have all been used to retake territory. The Army has intensified its offensive since the Taliban’s massacre of 150 people, 134 of them children, in a school in Peshawar in December.
The semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for Islamist militants of all stripes—including Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.