Airstrikes kill 10 militants in northwest Pakistan

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 11, 2010 11:01




PARACHINAR, Pakistan — Fighter jets pounded militant hideouts in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, killing 10 suspected insurgents as part of a military operation that has eliminated more than 300 fighters in the last three weeks, according to a local official.

The strikes came as the Pakistani military carried out its largest military exercise in two decades in southeastern Pakistan. The monthlong operation, which started Saturday, will involve some 20,000 troops backed by tanks, artillery and air power, the army said in a statement. It is likely intended as a show of muscle as the military battles a violent Taliban-led insurgency.

The military launched its latest offensive in March to rout members of the Pakistani Taliban from the Orakzai tribal region. Many militants fled there after the army staged a large ground offensive last year against the group's main stronghold in South Waziristan, also close to the Afghan border.

Sunday's airstrikes destroyed three hideouts in the Sangram area of Orakzai, said Samiullah Khan, a local administrator. They came a day after some 54 alleged militants were killed during ongoing clashes over a checkpoint in Baizoti town in Orakzai.


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