Situation under control, all siege militants killed: Pakistan
After negotiations failed to end a two-day standoff, Pakistani army commandos stormed a counterterrorism facility on Tuesday and killed terrorists who had taken over the location.
Pakistani Defense Minister stated that army commandos stormed a counterterrorism facility on Tuesday and killed terrorists who had taken over the location while also rescuing their hostages after negotiations failed to end a two-day standoff.
In the operation, which resulted in the death of two Special Services Group (SSG) commandos and the injury of other soldiers, including an officer, Khawaja Asif assured parliament that the army had liberated all the captives.
"The SSG started this operation... and all the terrorists have been killed," he assured in televised comments, stressing that the army had retaken full control of the counterterrorism compound.
On Sunday, terrorists from the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) held at the facility hostages and stole firearms from the interrogators. It is worth noting that Asif did not mention the number of militants slain or the hostages they had held.
The big picture
Commando forces had encircled the highly fortified military cantonment area in the Bannu district where the detention center was situated, where about 20 fighters from the Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), were hiding.
Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a separate entity from the Taliban in Afghanistan that shares a similar ideology with the group. It has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks that have been ripping through Pakistan since the group's emersion in 2007.
The group's fighters have been mostly forced out of Pakistan into neighboring Afghanistan. They have been pouring into the country since 2010, though they have seen a bolstering of their status in light of the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan late last year after the US’ hasty withdrawal.
A senior security official said as quoted by Reuters that although Pakistani authorities had initiated negotiations on Monday in an effort to end the standoff, "all options failed and the terrorists refused to release innocent people, so we opted to use force."
Residents claimed that on Tuesday, while helicopters flew overhead, they heard explosions emanating from the area around the center.
The TTP killed four police officers in a nearby town the day before the standoff at the anti-terrorism center in the Bannu district, which is just outside the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders.
At the time, the militants were seeking safe passage to Afghanistan; the TTP originally acknowledged this information but later stated that the militants may flee to Pakistan's tribal regions since they were safe there, as per government sources.
Since 2009, the Pakistani military has launched a number of offensives in the tribal regions that housed the headquarters of both domestic and international militant groups, including Al-Qaeda.
The military actions compelled the insurgents and their leaders to elude capture and flee to nearby Afghan districts. Islamabad claims they established training facilities there to organize and carry out strikes inside Pakistan, a claim that the Afghan government disputes.