PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A Pakistani army airstrike killed 30 militants in a northwest tribal area bordering Afghanistan on Saturday, while suicide attackers struck two police stations elsewhere in the troubled region, killing a police chief, authorities said.

The violence comes as Pakistan is cracking down on Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants on its soil, arresting several in an apparent sign that Islamabad is increasingly aligned with Washington’s goals in the war against Islamic extremists.

Large sections of Pakistan’s northwest have become militant strongholds, and in some places, the Pakistani military has been waging offensives to push out the extremists.

An army statement said an airstrike Saturday targeted a militant hide-out in the Shawal mountains of the South Waziristan tribal region after a tip that insurgents were there. It said 30 militants were killed but provided no further details.

The military has been trying to clear South Waziristan of Pakistani Taliban fighters since October. The region is remote, dangerous and largely restricted for outsiders, making independent confirmation of the army’s statement nearly impossible.

The two suicide attacks against police stations Saturday occurred within minutes of each other in Mansehra district, police official Gul Zareen said.

Local police chief Khalil Khan died and two officers and two passers-by were wounded when an attacker blew himself up inside the police station in Mansehra town, Zareen said. A second suspect fled.

In the second attack, two people stormed a police station about 15 miles away in the town of Balakot, triggering a shootout that left one attacker dead. Two officers were wounded; the second attacker fled.


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