KOHAT, Pakistan, (Reuters) – Up to 30 pro-Taliban militants and two soldiers were killed in clashes in a tribal region in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, the military said.
The clashes broke out in Darra Adam Kheil tribal region near the city of Peshawar a day after militants seized four trucks carrying ammunition and other supplies for paramilitary forces. “Reportedly, 25-30 miscreants have been killed,” the military statement said.
The small dusty, town of Darra Adam Kheil is known as Pakistan’s “gun capital” as its ethnic Pashtun residents have made weapons, including rifles, pistols and shotguns, for generations.
Though notorious as a haven for smugglers, the town until recently had been relatively free of the militant violence that has plagued other parts of Pakistan’s tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan. However, pro-Taliban militants have stepped up activities in the area in recent months with attacks on music shops, and an intelligence agent was killed there last year.
The military said the paramilitary Frontier Corps cleared strategic heights of militants south of Spina Thana village in the region.
Further to the southwest of the tribal belt, security forces battled militants in South Waziristan, renowned as a sanctuary for al Qaeda militants.
Nearly 150 militants and more than 20 government soldiers have been killed in South Waziristan in a week of clashes with fighters loyal to Baitullah Mehsud, a Taliban commander the government says was behind the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto last month.
Mehsud met other Taliban commanders in Waziristan on Friday, and they ordered their fighters to step up attacks on Pakistani security forces, Haji Omar, a spokesman for the militants told Reuters.