Security forces intensified their crackdown against militants in the Kurram Agency and Upper Dir on Saturday, claiming killing 21 of the fighters. Four security personnel were injured in Kurram. The official claim about militants casualties could not be verified from independent sources. In Kurram, the forces hit back at the militants after coming under an attack in Shoorkot area, and in Upper Dir they struck at hideouts along the border with Afghanistan as part of an operation launched after the militants fired at a fortification of a paramilitary unit earlier this week. Landmines, rockets, mortar shells and ammunition were seized from hideouts of militants in Murghan and Manato areas of central Kurram Agency, officials said. Backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, security forces strengthened their positions in the mountainous region. An artillery shell hit the house of one Gulab Khan in Zakhai area, killing four civilians, including three women. Sources said that militants fled the Alisherzai area after troops launched a search operation there. Rockets, mortar shells, landmines and ammunition were recovered from the hideouts of militants in Murghan and Manato, officials said. Meanwhile, thousands of the residents of the conflict-hit zone moved to lower Kurram and the adjacent Hangu district. The Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) registered 680 families at the New Durrani Camp near Sadda.Witnesses said that families displaced by the fighting had arrived in Doaba and Tora Warai areas in Hangu where they were waiting for relief assistance. A resident of the affected area, Zakir Khan, said that 3,500 people had shifted to Hangu and urgently needed food, water and other items. The FDMA said that a makeshift school was opened at New Durrani Camp where six volunteers were teaching 200 children. It said tents were required for classrooms. DIR OFFENSIVE: Eleven militants were killed in Upper Dir district on Saturday as security forces moved ahead with the offensive they launched in areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border two days ago, raising the toll to 30. The operation was launched after militants carried out an attack in Nusrat Darra recently, officials said. The sources said that security forces shelled the villages of Shahteez, Sunrai and Nusrat Darra where Taliban militants were believed to be hiding. Tension mounted after two people were kidnapped by militants from Shahteez. The militants have demanded handing over of the bodies of two associates who were killed on Wednesday and threatened the villagers with more attacks. The warning has forced the people of Shahteez, Nusrat Darra and Sunrai to leave their homes and shift to safe places. Several families from these villages have arrived in the town of Barawal.
Dawn News