Pakistan's army discovers intricate al-Qaeda cave complex used by militants

Pakistan's army has discovered an extensive network of caves used by the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The cave complex, in Damadola on the Afghan border, was used as a refuge by militants and even sheltered Ayman al-Zawahari, Osama bin-Laden's second-in-command.

Major General Tariq Khan, commander of the paramilitary Frontier Corp, took reporters on a tour of the caves, and displayed a large number of rockets, mines, rifles and other weapons that troops seized in the latest offensive launched in late January.

The cave complex which was used by militants and found by Pakistani soldiers in Damadola

The cave complex which was used by militants and found by Pakistani soldiers in Damadola

General Khan said: 'It was the main hub of militancy where al-Qaeda operatives had moved freely.'

The caves are thought to have been created over the past five to seven years, and acted as a militant headquarters.

General Khan added: 'There were Egyptians, Uzbeks, Chechens and Afghans killed in the operation.

'Al-Qaeda was there. They had occupied the ridges. There were 156 caves designed as a defensive complex. We have now cleared this area until the Afghan border.'

In the operation, 76 militants were arrested, 75 killed, and 364 were forced to surrender.

However, General Khan insisted that military success alone would not extinguish militancy in Pakistan's tribal region.

The U.S. has also urged Pakistan to target militants launching cross-border attacks against U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

But the Pakistani government has expressed reluctance, saying it has its hands full fighting militants waging war against the state.

In response, President Barack Obama has increased the number of drone missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.

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