Bannu’s CTD compound cleared, all terrorists dead: defence minister

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ISLAMABAD, DEC 20: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Tuesday that the Counter-Terrorism Department’s (CTD) compound in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was cleared after three days and all the 33 terrorists who overpowered security guards were killed in an operation.

In his briefing to the National Assembly, the federal minister said 10 to 15 soldiers had been injured and two martyred after the Pakistan Army’s Special Service Group (SSG) launched an operation earlier today.

“By 2:30pm, 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. Terrorists affiliated with 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 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 defence minister also mentioned that the militants were not part of one group, rather they belonged to different banned outfits.

The defence minister 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 terrorists],” he said.

Asif added that even when floods hit KP, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government — which is in power for the last nine years — has repeatedly failed to live up to the expectations.

“But this, this is an ‘utter failure’. Ultimately, our security forces had to get involved and sacrifice their lives […] the provincial government had no role in it whatsoever. This is a failure of nine years, not six months or a year,” he said.

Asif said Imran even uses the helicopters of the provincial government. “He is also thinking to come into power once again and destroy anything that is left,” the minister said. The defence minister slammed the KP government further and said that it was at a “complete collapse”.