Pakistan says 37 militants, 6 soldiers killed in long-awaited offensive in northwest

BANNU, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani jets have been pounding targets in the country’s northwest as the military carries out an offensive against militant safe havens in North Waziristan.

The military says its forces so far have killed 37 insurgents in the tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the army has suffered its first casualties of the operation. Six soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb exploded.

The militants are vowing to retaliate with attacks in Islamabad and Lahore, saying they’ll burn the mansions of the country’s rulers. A spokesman for the militants also warns international investors, foreign airlines and multinational organizations to leave Pakistan or be considered supporters of the government and fair game.

North Waziristan has served as a training base for militants and a staging point for insurgents who attack NATO and Afghan troops across the border. The United States has for years complained to Pakistan about its failure to impose order there and has carried out hundreds of drone strikes in the region.

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163-c-08-(Rebecca Santana, AP correspondent)-“insurgent safe havens”-AP correspondent Rebecca Santana reports Pakistan’s Air Force has pounded targets in the country’s northwest. (16 Jun 2014)


164-c-19-(Rebecca Santana, AP correspondent)-“thousands of troops”-AP correspondent Rebecca Santana reports the military offensive in Pakistan’s north brings an end to an effort to negotiate with militants. (16 Jun 2014)


165-c-13-(Rebecca Santana, AP correspondent)-“played out today”-AP correspondent Rebecca Santana reports efforts to negotiate with the militants have come to a dramatic end. (16 Jun 2014)


166-c-19-(Rebecca Santana, AP correspondent)-“change in opinion”-AP correspondent Rebecca Santana reports many Pakistanis who favored efforts to negotiate with the militants changed their minds after the siege of the country’s largest airport. (16 Jun 2014)


APPHOTO ISL101: Pakistani police officers check identities of motorcyclists in Bannu near the tribal area of North Waziristan, Monday, June 16, 2014 in Pakistan. Pakistan’s air force pounded targets in the country’s northwest Monday, killing 27 militants, officials said, as the government finally pushed ahead with a military offensive against insurgent safe havens. (AP Photo/Ijaz Muhammad) (16 Jun 2014)


APPHOTO ISL105: FILE – In this file photo taken on Aug. 5, 2012, Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan. The Pakistani army said it has launched a “comprehensive operation” against foreign and local militants in a tribal region near the Afghan border. An army statement issued Sunday, June 15, 2014 said the long-awaited offensive in North Waziristan was started at the direction of the government of Pakistan. (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mahsud, File) (15 Jun 2014)


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