Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif
Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif Xinhua/IANS

Pakistan: All 33 militants who overpowered security guards killed in Bannu operation

Islamabad, December 20, 2022

Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Tuesday that the Counter Terrorism Department's (CTD) compound in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been cleared after three days and all the 33 terrorists who overpowered security guards have been killed in an operation, local media reported.

In his briefing to the National Assembly, the minister said 10 to 15 soldiers have been injured while two have been killed after the Pakistan Army's Special Service Group (SSG) launched an operation earlier on Tuesday, Geo News reported.

"By 2:30 p.m., the SSG had cleared the compound. All the hostages have been freed," Asif said.

He also mentioned that the militants were not part of one group, rather they belonged to different banned outfits.

The Defence Minister added that there were 33 arrested terrorists inside the compound and one of them overpowered a man stationed at the centre. He then snatched his weapon and later the terrorists took over the centre, Asif said, Geo News reported.

Terrorists affiliated to the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were involved in the incident and in a bid to end the standoff, the Pakistani government initiated talks with the militant group's leadership.

Sources earlier told Geo News that the terrorists were demanding a safe air route to Afghanistan.

"The unfortunate side of this incident is that terrorism is once again rearing its head, especially in KP and Balochistan. Incidents have taken place in other provinces, but in these two provinces, we have seen clear evidence," the Minister said.

Asif mentioned that the provincial government - which oversees the CTD - has "completely failed" in carrying out its responsibility.

"The entire provincial government was a hostage of Imran Khan in Zaman Park. On the other hand, innocent people in KP were made hostage [by the terrorists]," he said.


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