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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 25/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The airstrikes were staged in mountainous areas of the khyber tribal district where the taleban and the banned militant group lashkar-e-islam are active.

pakistan fighter jets on thursday attacked taleban hideouts in the lawless northwestern tribal belt and killed at least 12 suspected militants officials said.

it was the first time the military is known to have used air strikes on militants since the pakistani taleban announced a ceasefire on march 1 to help peace talks.

the taleban said last week it was ending the ceasefire complaining of little progress in negotiations with the government. a series of militant attacks since then have killed seven people in the northwest.

the airstrikes were staged in mountainous areas of the khyber tribal district where the taleban and the banned militant group lashkar-e-islam are active.

“at least 12 militants have been killed but the death toll may increase” a security official based in peshawar told afp on condition of anonymity.

lashkar-e-islam led by warlord mangal bagh is feared for kidnappings and extortion in khyber one of seven lawless tribal districts along the afghan border.

another security official said the strikes targeted militants involved in bomb attacks in the northwestern town of charsadda and on a fruit and vegetable market in islamabad which killed 24 people.

both officials said ground troops also used heavy weapons to pound militant targets.

independent verification of the death toll was not possible as journalists are not allowed to enter the area.

pakistan began talks with the taleban in february to try to end their seven-year insurgency which has cost thousands of lives.

government and taleban negotiators met in islamabad on tuesday to plan a fresh round of talks and to try to persuade the militants to begin another ceasefire a taleban negotiator said.

since the taleban began their campaign of violence in 2007 more than 6800 people have been killed in bomb and gun attacks around pakistan according to an afp tally.

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