Pakistan military says 2,763 militants killed in one year offensive

pakistanPakistan’s military said Saturday it had killed more than 2,700 militants since the launch of a major offensive near the Afghan border a year ago, with the latest air strikes leaving 20 dead.

The raid Saturday took place near the Datta Khel area in North Waziristan tribal region.

“At least 20 terrorists were killed in aerial strikes,” the military said in a statement, without giving the identity of those killed or who they fought for.

No militant group said it had been hit, but the area is a stronghold of both the Taliban and foreign militants linked to Al-Qaeda.

The conflict zone is off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of those killed.

The army began a major campaign against Taliban and other militant strongholds in North Waziristan in June last year.

In the year since the launch of the operation, “so far, 2,763 terrorists killed, 837 hideouts destroyed,” military spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa tweeted on Saturday.

He said at least “218 hardcore terrorists” were killed and 347 officers and soldiers lost their lives.

Bajwa added that the operation had now moved to the last few pockets close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for over a decade following the late 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Authorities have since vowed to intensify operations, using air strikes, artillery and mortars to take back territory both in the border regions and other parts of the country.

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