Pakistani fighter jets bombarded Taliban hideouts in the troubled northwest
yesterday, killing at least 30 in the fourth airstrikes since peace talks stalled, in what analysts say is a surgical operation to reassert the military's dominance.
The morning attacks on hideouts in the North and South Waziristan tribal districts were the latest in a series of airstrikes by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) since February 20 that have killed more than 100 alleged militants.
Experts say the strikes are designed to give the military the upper-hand if peace talks, which were suspended last week, resume and do not believe the army is prepared to launch a full-fledged operation in the area.
The focus of yesterday's attacks, which also involved helicopter gunships, was mostly the mountainous Shawal valley and Datta Khel in North Waziristan, and Sararogha in neighbouring South Waziristan, the officials said.
Residents said hundreds of families have fled their homes. They are taking shelter with relatives in Peshawar and other cities further away from the border, residents said.
Earlier this month Pakistan had entered into talks with the Taliban aimed at ending their seven-year insurgency.
But the militant group continued carrying out attacks on a near-daily basis, with dialogue suspended after the insurgents claimed last week they had executed 23 kidnapped soldiers in a northwestern tribal region.