At least 15 killed as Pakistan bombs Taliban hideouts

February 20, 2014 - 8:38:57 am

MIRANSHAH: Pakistani jets early Thursday bombed Taliban hideouts in a northwestern tribal district, killing at least 15 people, security officials said.

The airstrikes in the country's troubled North Waziristan come a day after Taliban insurgents said they are ready to observe a ceasefire to allow the resumption of stalled peace talks, provided Pakistani security forces stop killing and arresting them.

"There are confirmed reports of 15 militants including foreigners killed in these airstrikes," a senior security official told AFP. 

Adding that the focus of the attacks was the town of Mir Ali and its surrounding areas in North Waziristan, a stronghold for Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants along with Afghan border.

"Airstrikes were carried out to target militant hideouts with precision." 

"A huge cache of arms and ammunition have also been destroyed," the official said. 

Peace talks between the Taliban and the government stalled this week due a recent surge in insurgent attacks and a claim by a Taliban faction that it had killed 23 kidnapped soldiers.

Government mediators set a ceasefire as a precondition for another round of talks. 

A total of 70 people have been killed since the reconciliation effort was launched on January 29. (AFP)