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Pakistan: Airstrikes kill 65 militants near Afghan border


Islamabad: Pakistani airstrikes killed 65 militants today in two tribal regions along the Afghan border, the army said, part of a yearlong campaign against insurgents in rugged areas where they have long sheltered.

Strikes in two areas of North Waziristan killed 50 militants and destroyed an ammunition cache, while strikes in the Khyber tribal region killed another 15, an army statement said.

Militants who carry out attacks on both sides of the border have long been based in Pakistan’s remote western tribal regions.

The government launched a massive military operation in North Waziristan in June 2014 and vowed to step up its efforts in the wake of a Taliban attack on a school in December that killed some 150 people, mostly children.

The airstrikes came a day after a twin suicide attack at the residence of Punjab provincial home minister Shuja Khanzada killed him and 17 others in the country’s east.

Khanzada was a vocal supporter of harsh government tactics against the militants. Last month, he announced that Malik Ishaq, who led the al-Qaida-linked Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, had been killed in a police shootout.

Jamatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed the suicide bombings, saying the attack was revenge for Ishaq’s killing.

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