Pakistani air strikes kill up to 30 'militants' in North Waziristan

Assault reportedly triggers new wave of refugees from the region

Asia Correspondent

Pakistani jets and helicopter gunships have attacked new targets in the country’s north west, killing anywhere up to 30 suspected militants.

Reports said that in the latest in a series of assaults on targets in the North Waziristan tribal area, planes and helicopters of the Pakistan Air Force pounded targets early on Tuesday morning. The reports said the assault triggered another wave of refugees from the area.

In recent days, a number of people have been pouring out of North Waziristan, located on the border with Afghanistan, amid fears that the military is poised to launch an all-out assault. This follows a series of limited operations in the area as peace talks between the Taliban and the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif continue to falter.

“The militants had captured a stretch between South Waziristan and North Waziristan and had established training centres where they were also preparing suicide bombers,” one military official told the Reuters news agency.

The latest strikes took place largely in the remote Shawal valley and Dattakhel areas of North Waziristan, said to be sites of militant training facilities and compounds. Confirming claims about who was killed and whether or not civilians were hurt is always difficult as journalists and independent observers are restricted from operating freely in the area.

Fears of a major operation heightened this month after talks broke down after the Taliban told the government there was no chance of peace unless Islamabad changed its political and legal system and officially embraced Islamic law.

Mr Sharif was elected last summer following an election campaign during which he said he supported talking to the Taliban as part of a broader regional peace effort. Both the Taliban and the government have appointed a team of interlocutors to represent them and a first meeting has been held.

But the talks have struggled to gain traction after several Taliban operations targeting security forces and following an announcement by militants in the Mohmand region that 23 soldiers had been executed.

Reports said Mr Sharif is due to meet with members of his cabinet today to discuss operations in North Waziristan. The Pakistan military has been largely reluctant to target the area in the past because it is home to militants who have mainly attacked targets in Afghanistan and who have long been considered useful proxies.

On Monday, Pakistan’s interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, earned himself considerable opprobrium when he said he wanted the Taliban to come and play cricket. He told reporters he had been told the militants had an interest in the game. The Taliban rejected the minister’s offer, which was widely criticised and mocked.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?