Four soldiers killed in tribal military operation: army
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Oct 1, IRNA
The Pakistani military said on Friday that four soldiers were killed and several injured during an operation against suspected militants in the country's North Waziristan tribal region.
The operation was launched yesterday on a tip that some miscreants are hiding in Khat Kalee, some seven to 10 kilometers southwest of Miran Shah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, Pak Army Spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said.
Sultan did not give any information about the number of casualties on the militant side but said "the wireless messages intercepted reveal that the suspects suffered more losses." Sultan said that the militants showed stiff resistance when confronted by security forces during the operation.
The security forces are making advance, he said.
The spokesman denied reports that the militants have kidnapped several soldiers, adding that no soldier has been kidnapped.
"This is part of disinformation."
Meanwhile, correspondents in North Waziristan said that military helicopters bombed militants' hideouts the whole day on Friday.
Helicopters were seen over the area targeting positions of suspects.
Local correspondents claimed civilian casualties as a result of helicopter shelling. There was no official word on civilian casualties.
A majority of the shops in Miran Shah and the neigboring major city of Mir Ali remained closed due to fear.
Witnesses in Miran Shah said that militants fired rockets on government buildings.
Meanwhile, a tribal jirga or council met in Miransah on Friday with the elders calling for a halt to the military operation.
But a representative of the local administration told the tribal council that the operation could not be stopped unless the suspects were arrested.
A tribal elder, who requested not to be named, said that he representative informed the jirga that some 19 soldiers and one paramilitary troop was missing and asked the elders to help search for them.
A member of the National Assembly from North Waziristan, Maulana Nek Zaman, has asked the authorities to stop the firing, offering help to restore peace.
Nek Zaman says there is no foreign militant hiding in the area, adding that the tribal elders have already announced a penalty of five million rupees if any tribesman sheltered any foreigner.
A former Pakistani security official in the tribal region, Brigadier (retired) Mehmood Shah, asked the government to be careful while conducting the operation in North Waziristan, saying the operation has not yet yielded any results.
He said the tribal elders do not have much control over the people in North Waziristan who are more conservative and ethnically united that those in South Waziristan.
Pakistani security in North Waziristan also said personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps arrested a nephew of former Afghan Mujahideen commander and ex-Taliban minister Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani and shifted him to Miranshah.
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