Elsewhere in the same region, at least 17 people were killed on Thursday Nov 6, when Pakistani jets pounded suspected militants around the towns of Mamoon and Nawagai, where Pakistani forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida groups.
The attacks came as a suicide attack rocked the Bajaur area on the Afghan border on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and some 45 others government officials said. Amir Khan, a tribesman, told BosNewsLife that the scene was littered with several limbs. He said the blast also killed several tribal elders who supported government forces in their fight against Islamic militants.
Muhammad Kareem, a hospital official in Bajaur’s main city of Khar, told BosNewsLife that he personally saw that dozens of the critically injured tribesmen was brought into the ward of the local hospital.
In a second suicide attack, a bomber detonated an explosive-laden car near police headquarters in the Swat Valley, also in the northwest, killing at least two people, security officials added.
It came amid mounting religious tensions in the region, with reports that Muslim militants have attacked Christian institutions.
In one of these incidents last month, Taliban militants bombed a Catholic-run girls’ school in Pakistan’s war-torn Swat Valley as part of what observers described as a larger effort to subvert women’s status in society through Islamic law.
The militants attacked the Convent Girls’ School in Sangota, run by the Presentation Sisters, a Catholic religious order that has opened girls’ schools around the world. Christians said militants had threatened the school frequently for offering education to females.
Government forces, under pressure to tackle extremism, have attacked the Batmalai area of the Bajaur tribal region for some three months, but Thursday’s suicide blasts appeard to shor that al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents remain in control of key positions along the Afghan border.
The Pakistani military said in a statement last month that around 1,500 rebels and 73 soldiers had died while hundreds more militants were captured since the military launched an operation in the lawless region in August.
Analysts say Pakistan’s tribal belt became a safe haven for hundreds of al-Qaida and Taliban extremists who fled the US-led toppling of Afghanistan’s hardline Taliban regime in late 2001 and have since set up training camps.
In a separate incident of US missile attacks within the territories of Pakistan have killed three of the top 20 extremist leaders were killed, said US General David H Petraeus on Thursday, November 6. However Petraeus did not reveal the identity of the three deceased leaders. Washington believes that Pakistan ’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan are home to the
al-Qaida’s top leadership including Osama Bin Laden.