Troops defeat Taliban in Pakistan’s Bajaur region

Pakistani troops have defeated and forced Taliban militants out of the troubled Bajaur tribal region, bordering Afghanistan, after months of fierce fighting, a top security official claimed on Saturday.

The paramilitary Frontier Corps, which is spearheading operations against the local Taliban in Pakistan's tribal belt, has "secured" Bajaur Agency, Major General Tariq Khan told a group of reporters, who were taken to the area by the military.

"They (Taliban) have lost. They have lost their cohesion here...The resistance has collapsed," said Khan, the commander for anti-militancy operations in five of the seven semi-autonomous tribal regions.

Pakistani security forces have claimed that over 1,500 militants were killed in Bajaur Agency. Khan said Afghans, Egyptians and Sudanese were among the militants killed, while 97 personnel from the army and Frontier Corps also lost their lives and 404 others injured during the operations.

The Taliban in Bajaur had declared a unilateral ceasefire earlier this week, but Khan said he had not accepted this truce.

"I think somewhere by the end of the year or so we would, more or less, be over with the military operations," he added.

Bajaur Agency is considered a major infiltration route into Afghanistan and Pakistani forces launched an operation in the area in August last year.

Khan said his troops planned to hand over control of Bajaur, located opposite the Afghan province of Kunar, to Government authorities next week.

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