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263 militants, 35 soldiers killed in Pakistan’s Khyber Agency 

Islamabad, April 8 (IANS) At least 263 militants and 35 soldiers were killed in the ongoing military operation in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of Khyber Agency, an army statement said on Wednesday.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of the Pakistan army released the statement saying the troops killed the hardcore terrorists after surrounding them in restive Tirah Valley area of Khyber Agency, a militancy-infested tribal region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The special engineering unit of the army has also detonated 392 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the area, Xinhua news agency cited the statement as saying.

The statement came after the country’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif, visited Khyber Agency on Wednesday to examine the progress in the operation.

The COAS was told that the military has taken full control of the highly important Musatil Pass which leads to Afghanistan.

Earlier, media reports said the pass was used by militants to sneak into Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The same pass was used by the militants to escape to Afghanistan after the commencement of the high profile Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Khyber in tribal areas by the Pakistani military.

The statement said terrorist strongholds have been reduced in the area since the operation, and the military is currently battling terrorists in the last few areas close to the Afghan border.

The COAS lauded the sacrifices made by the soldiers in the line of duty and directed them to continue the momentum of the operation till its logical conclusion.

He also praised the tribal people for their support to evict terrorists from their areas and vowed that the militants would not be allowed to return to the area.

In September 2014, the Pakistani army announced an offensive “Operation Khyber 1″ against the militants in Bara area of Khyber agency, which successfully came to an end in March this year.

Now, the military is carrying out “Operation Khyber 2” in Tirah Valley of the Khyber Agency.

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