Islamabad, April 29: Pakistani security forces have taken control of parts of the Tirrah Valley after flushing out terrorists, the Dawn reported on Wednesday. According to official sources, the control of Sipah and Akkakhel areas in the valley was the biggest achievement of the security forces so far as part of the ongoing Khyber Two military operation against the Lashkar-i-Islam (LI), Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jamaatul Ahrar terrorists. The banned outfits had joined hands soon after the launch of the Khyber Two operation in February.
The forces also advanced towards the TTP-controlled Kukikhel area in the valley. “The fall of Kukikhel is a matter of time now because the area has been encircled from almost all sides and militants were seen fleeing the area,” a security official said. LI spokesman Salahuddin Ayoubi said from an undisclosed location that the loss of Akkakhel and Sipah was a “tactical retreat” and they would soon retake the area with the support of TTP and Jamaatul Ahrar activists.
He said the Lashkar killed nine soldiers and injured 11 during ground battles in the Dwa Thoe locality of Kukikhel, but the claim could not be independently verified.
Military observers believe that the army’s control of Sipah and Akkakhel was a severe blow to the LI, because the militant organisation was controlling the region for the past 10 years. The LI established its recruitment and training centres and several hideouts in various localities of Sipah and Akkakhel. During the past decade, the LI had defended the bases against its archrivals — the Ansaarul Islam and Tauheedul Islam. It had also frustrated many security offensives before the launch of the Khyber One and Khyber Two operations.
“The LI, along with its allies, is now left with no option but to flee across the border or lay down arms,” the security official said. Officials said cleansing Tirah of terrorists was nearing completion. (IANS)