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Pakistan airstrikes against Taliban kill at least 30 militants, official says

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani jets bombed Taliban hideouts Wednesday in the northwest of the country, killing at least 30 militants, a security official said, as peace talks between the government and insurgents appeared close to collapse.

Military officials said hideouts of militants linked with Pakistani Taliban were shelled in the North Waziristan tribal district near the Afghan border shortly after midnight Tuesday.

“At least 30 militants are confirmed dead,” said a security official, who declined to be named. “It was a precision bombardment based on real-time intelligence input,” he said.

Another official said ground troops had launched a search operation in Miranshah town in the district, thought to be a base for Islamist militants from many parts of the world linked with al-Qaida.

The reports could not be verified as the area is inaccessible to journalists.

The rare blitz came after Taliban insurgents launched several attacks on security forces in the area, including one that killed nine soldiers earlier this month.

It occurred amid reports that a peace process the government launched to end the conflict had collapsed.

The authorities have refused to release Taliban prisoners or withdraw the army from Taliban strongholds.

Last month, fighter jets killed more than 25 militants in the area after a series of attacks against the military.

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