15 militants killed in airstrikes by Pakistan's military

Feb. 20, 2014 at 6:13 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Pakistani military said airstrikes in North Waziristan Thursday killed 15 militants as peace talks with the Taliban were halted over rising militant violence.

Pakistani air force jets struck suspected militant hideouts in the tribal region, military officials told Geo News.

CNN quoted the military as saying "foreign fighters" were among the 15 killed in the airstrikes.

The Pakistani planes struck in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan as part of surgical strikes. Large quantities of arms and ammunition also were reportedly destroyed, Geo News reported.

The airstrikes come after government negotiators, who have been holding peace talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan over the past two weeks, informed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that continuing the talks would be meaningless unless the banned militant group immediately stopped its violence.

Sharif initiated the peace talks in the hope of ending the deadly terrorist violence of the past seven years. Recent violence includes the Feb. 13 blast in Karachi that killed 13 policemen, and the killing of 23 abducted paramilitary soldiers last Sunday, claimed by a faction of the Taliban in Mohmand tribal agency.

Sharif had warned the executions of the 23 paramilitary soldiers could adversely impact the peace talks with the Taliban. The soldiers had been held by the Mohmand group after being abducted in 2010.

Some Pakistani media reports have said the incident could be a setback for Sharif's government, which has said the peace talks are a last chance effort to end the militant violence.

Topics: Nawaz Sharif
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