Pakistani jet fighters attacked militant hideouts in a tribal region near the border with Afghanistan, killing at least 80 insurgents the military said were linked to last week’s Karachi airport attack.
The hideouts in North Waziristan were targeted after confirmed reports that terrorists linked to the June 8 airport attack were sheltering there, the Pakistan military’s media wing ISPR said in a statement. Most of those killed were Uzbek militants, it said. China’s Xinhua News Agency earlier reported more than 100 terrorists were killed.
The attack on Pakistan’s biggest airport dealt a blow to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to end an insurgency that has killed 50,000 people since 2001 and stifled economic growth. The attacks also raised questions about his plans to attract investors as part of an International Monetary Fund road map to revive the economy.
Today’s fighter attack also destroyed an ammunition dump, according to the military. It came days after a U.S. drone strike killed 10 militants in North Waziristan in the first such attack in the tribal areas of Pakistan this year, according to a government official from the region.
The Jinnah International Airport, which handles all routine domestic and international flights from Karachi, reopened June 9 after security forces killed 10 Taliban fighters who carried out a late-night attack on an aircraft maintenance facility about two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the main terminal building. Flames and smoke billowed above the terminal in the attack, which left 28 security personnel and airport workers dead.
The Taliban ended a cease-fire because the government wasn’t serious about talks with the group, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in an e-mailed statement today. He vowed revenge for today’s military attacks in North Waziristan, which he called “act of cruelty.”