Azhar Masood I Arab News
Tuesday 18 November 2008
Last Update 18 November 2008 12:00 am
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani helicopter gunships involved in a bitter offensive against militants in a northwestern tribal region struck targets in a neighboring area, a sign that the conflict may be widening to other parts of the rugged zone bordering Afghanistan.
Elsewhere in the northwest, Pakistani security forces escorted container trucks and oil tankers headed to Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass yesterday after Pakistan reopened the supply route critical to NATO and US troops battling the Taleban. A dozen or so pickup trucks from the paramilitary Frontier Corps yesterday joined a convoy of around 30 vehicles as part of new security measures.
The media center for the paramilitary Frontier Corps confirmed that helicopter gunships, backed by artillery, have been pounding suspected insurgent hide-outs in the Mohmand tribal area since Saturday.
Mohmand is south of the Bajaur tribal region, an Al-Qaeda and Taleban stronghold where the military says a three-month-old offensive has killed more than 1,600 suspected militants.
Speculation has abounded that after taking control of Bajaur, the military would set its sights on Mohmand.