The Pakistan army today launched an all-out offensive using jets and tanks in the restive North Waziristan, killing nearly 184 Taliban fighters including foreigners, while six soldiers were killed in an IED blast, the first military casualties in the operation. "Air force jets targeted six hideouts of the militants in Shawal area. In these precise strikes 27 terrorists were killed. There is no civil population in the area," military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said.
The military said they shot dead seven militants trying to flee Mir Ali, a major town in North Waziristan. Another three were killed by soldiers when they were planting roadside bombs near Miranshah.
Seven more terrorists were killed in another area. Military suffered its first casualties when six soldiers were killed in a bomb blast in Ghulam Khan. 140 terrorists were killed in yesterday's precision strikes in Degan-Boya, said Bajwa. Most of those killed were Uzbek militants fighting along with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) rebels.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he will not allow Pakistan to become a "sanctuary of terrorists" and asserted that the military operation against the Taliban would continue until militants are eliminated. "We will not allow Pakistan to become a sanctuary of terrorists," Sharif announced.
Pakistan army launched the operation 'Zarb-e-Azb,' which means "Strike of the Prophet's Sword," in retaliation to the deadly terror attack on the country's biggest airport in Karachi last week that killed nearly 40 people, including 10 Uzbek fighters. "Many East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) terrorists and their affiliates have also been killed in the strikes. It was a massive blow to the terrorists and one of their main communication centres has been dismantled," Bajwa said.
Bajwa said three soldiers were injured last night in exchange of fire with terrorists around Mir Ali. "No operation in civil populated areas has been started so far. North Waziristan Agency has been isolated by deploying troops along its border with neighbouring agencies and FATA regions to block any move of terrorists in and out of the Agency," he said.
The spokesman said security has been beefed up all along Pak-Afghan border to nab terrorists attempting to flee the area.