Peshawar, July 16 (Reuters): The Pakistani military said its jets killed 35 suspected militants today as part of an anti-Taliban offensive hours after another explosion nearby, which officials initially said was a US drone strike, killed up to 20 people.
The violence in Pakistan comes as the US struggles to bring stability to neighbouring Afghanistan before most of its forces pull out after 12 years of inconclusive war. In one of the worst attacks in Afghanistan in a year, dozens of people were killed on Tuesday when a car bomb exploded in a crowded market in the eastern province of Paktika, near the Pakistani border.
Taliban and other al Qaida-linked fighters battling in both Afghanistan and Pakistan have for years mingled in strongholds in Pakistan's ungoverned, ethnic Pashtun border lands but there has been little coordination in confronting them between US-led forces in Afghanistan and their Pakistani allies.
Today, Pakistani jets killed 35 suspected militants in the Shawal valley, a remote militant stronghold on the Pakistani side of the border opposite Afghanistan’s Paktika, Pakistani military officials said. The military said that the jets targeted members of the Pakistani Taliban and included Uzbeks, Chechens and Arab fighters, who had fled to the remote Shawal region.