Troops kill 12 Taliban militants in NW Pakistan: army
Pakistan's military said Saturday it had killed 12 Taliban militants as government troops pressed a major offensive in the South Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan, AP reported.
Some 30,000 troops backed by fighter jets and helicopter gunships launched a fierce air and ground offensive into the northwest region three weeks ago and the military has since claimed a series of successes.
It said troops on Friday penetrated into Makin, the hometown of slain Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud who was killed along with some of his family members in a missile strike fired by a US drone on August 5.
Security forces were also consolidating their positions at Sararogha and its surrounding heights in the rugged mountainous region, the military's media wing said in a statement.
"In last 24 hours, 12 terrorists have been killed, and five soldiers including two officers were injured," the statement said.
The strategic town of Sararogha, was a former operational base of Mehsud.
Security forces also captured a 30-feet (10-metre) long tunnel and "plenty of ammunition has been discovered and destroyed" it said.
Pakistan, vowing to crush Tehreek-e-Taliban in the region, said so far 458 Taliban fighters and 42 troops had been killed in the offensive.
The casualty figures cannot be verified because communication lines are down and journalists and aid workers are barred from the area.
South Waziristan has been dubbed by Washington as the most dangerous place in the world because of an abundance of Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
The long-awaited assault on South Waziristan came after a spring offensive in the northwestern Swat valley. In July, the government declared the offensive a success but sporadic outbreaks of violence have continued in the valley.
The South Waziristan offensive has displaced more than 250,000 people and the the United Nations has urged Pakistan to ensure safety and security of civilians during the operation.