He said that 24 militants were killed in the clashes that went on for several hours but displayed the bodies of only eight militants to the local media. “Our assessment is based on militants’ intercepts and chatter,” the official said.
The simultaneous attacks, in the Baizai area close to the Afghan border, were the biggest since Pakistani forces launched operations in the lawless tribal regions along the border.
A government official said that militants in the Mohmand region, a mountainous, heavily forested area with easy escape routes to Afghanistan, have largely been confined to a small area that adjoins Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal area and Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar Province. The strategic location makes it relatively easy for militants to organize.
“All the bad guys are now there,” Amjad Ali Khan, the administrator of the Mohmand region, said. “Kunar’s border region has gone to the dogs due to the absence of international forces there. These guys go there and come back to launch attacks on our forward positions.”
Officials said that the authorities had planned an operation to flush out militants from the remaining pockets of Mohmand but lack of resources caused a delay.
“Action will get under way shortly,” Mr. Khan said.
On Dec. 6, suicide bombers struck the administrative headquarters of Mohmand, killing 43 people and wounding more than 60.