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Military planes killed 16 militants near Afghan boder

20 September, 2015

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PESHAWAR: Military planes killed 16 suspected militants in bombing raids near the Afghan border, security officials said on Saturday, a day after Taliban militants killed 29 people in an attack on an air base.

The attack on the base on Friday was the deadliest ever militant attack on a military installation and is likely to undermine already rocky ties with Afghanistan.

Hours after the attack, military spokesperson Asim Bajwa pointedly noted that communications intercepts showed the Taliban gunmen were being directed by handlers in Afghanistan.

Saturday’s air force raids targeted militant bases in the Tirah Valley, which straddles the Afghan border and is a main smuggling route between the two countries, two security officials said. “All those killed in the bombing were Pakistani militants,” said one security official in Peshawar.

On Friday, 13 gunmen stormed the Badaber air base, about 10 kilometres south of Peshawar in an attack a Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) spokesperson said was retaliation for bombing raids on their bases along the Afghan border. Police said they picked up around 50 residents living near the base on suspicion of helping the militants organise the attack.

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