Pakistani helicopter gunships targeted a militant training facility in the country’s northwest yesterday, killing nine insurgents in the latest violence to disrupt troubled peace negotiations, according to police and security officials.
The strikes came as a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban rejected a government demand that the militant movement halt attacks, saying the government should be first announce a ceasefire.
Underscoring the militants’ refusal to stop attacks, a roadside bomb hit a vehicle carrying a pro-government elder in the northwestern town of Buner, killing him and two of his guards, police official Javed Khan said.
The military launched yesterday morning’s strikes after confirming reports about the presence of militants at a compound in the village of Thal in the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, two security officials and a local police officer said. They said the identity of the slain men was not immediately known and agents were trying to get details.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.
It was the third such strike in recent days.
Peace efforts suffered a setback when a bombing claimed by the Pakistan Taliban last week killed 12 police officers in Karachi, and a few days later a faction of the Taliban also claimed they killed 23 soldiers.