Pakistani security forces widen operations in tribal regions

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Peshawar, Jun 30 (UNI) Pakistani security forces have widened the operation to more areas of Bara town in Khyber tribal region, destroying an illegal FM radio station, six hideouts of militant groups and unearthing a private dungeon.

No resistance was offered by any militant group and no casualty reported, local media reported today against the backdrop of an annoucement by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan headed by Baitullah Mehsud to suspend peace talks with the government.

Mehsud was accused by previous government of masterminding former premier Benazir Bhutto's assassination in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

The paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) continued to blow up the hideouts of certain groups with explosives and artillery fire as part of governement's fresh operations against Islamic militants, challenging its writ in the Northwestern Frontier Province and tribal regions.

''The writ of the state has been restored to a great extent and civil administration has taken control of those areas now. We had to secure Peshawar from any incursion and it is being done successfully,'' Prime Minister's Advisor on Interior Rahman Malik told newspersons outside the Balahisar Fort, the headquarters of the Frontier Corps, in Peshawar.

During yesterday's operation, no casualty was reported as security forces destroyed six more hideouts of the militants' outfit. Several hideouts were also razed on Saturday.

''We have destroyed the Mahboob Markaz, residence of Lashkar-i-Islam leader Misri Khan, the hideout of Gud Malang in Akakhel and a private jail in Kohi area yesterday,'' additional chief secretary (ACS) for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Habibullah Khan, said.

The FATA comprises seven semi-autonomous tribal regions, each called an agency.

The residence of militant leader Tayyab and a sub-headquarters of the Lashkar-i-Islam in Malik Dinkhel were destroyed later in the evening.

All these base-camps were vacated by the inhabitants who had already moved to safer places after their leadership decided not to resist the action.

Munsif Khan, second in command of an outfit, said the government should have addressed the issue through talks instead of taking action.

He, however, made it clear that they were not going to clash with their own Army.

An official of the Peshawar Police said 45 suspects were rounded up yesterday on the directives of the federal government who could have created a law and order problem. Heavy ammunition, was also recovered during raids on their hideouts, he added.

Residents of several villages of Peshawar like Matani, Mashokhel, Mashogagar, Sheikh Mohammadi, Sheikhan, Sarband, Neway Kelay, Acheenay, Regi, Nasir Bagh, Michni, Mathra, Daudzai and Khazana also feared retaliation from members of different groups.


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