Pakistan launches operation to free officers held hostage by TTP

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Pakistani security forces have stormed a counterterrorism center in a remote northwestern district to free several security officials taken hostage two days ago by armed group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The fate of hostages inside remained unclear as the forces on Tuesday were still looking to clear the entire compound in the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan.

Six security officials and several detainees were inside the center, said the sources, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

“The operation is being concluded and there is no more resistance … the security forces have entered into the compound,” one security source said.

He said details on the hostages and the number of casualties would be given after the clearance operation was completed.

About 20 fighters from the TTP – also known as Pakistani Taliban for their association with the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan – were holed up at the center, reports said.

“All options failed and the terrorists refused to free innocent people, so we decided to use force,” a senior security official said on condition of anonymity.

Loud explosions were heard as black smoke billowed from the compound following the security operation.

Hyder said the TTP fighters were demanding a safe passage to Afghanistan.


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