KHAR, Pakistan – Pakistani security forces have killed 15 militants, including a senior commander, in separate clashes as they seek to rout the Taliban from strongholds in the country's northwest, officials said Thursday.
The deadliest fighting was in Swat Valley, the site of a major military offensive this summer that was declared a success but has been the scene of sporadic violence since.
Ten suspects were killed in overnight fighting following a raid on a militant hide-out near the Swat Valley town of Kabal, Maj. Mushtaq Ahmed said.
Those killed included Abu Faraj, the captured militant commander who had led the troops to the location, Ahmed said. Abu Faraj was captured in September and accused of plotting homicide bombings in the area.
Five other militants were killed when security forces repelled attacks on three checkpoints in the Bajur area that borders Afghanistan, local official Adalat Khan said.
Pakistan faces heavy pressure from the U.S. to crack down on Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgents who attack American and Afghan troops across the border.
The army has launched several offensives, including one under way in South Waziristan. Many fear the U.S. plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will push more militants into Pakistan.
Separately, officials raised the death toll in Wednesday's homicide bombing against naval headquarters in Islamabad to two after one of those wounded died.