TIME

Pakistan Begins Ground Offensive Against Militants

(ISLAMABAD) — Pakistan has launched a ground offensive against Taliban strongholds near the Afghan border after evacuating nearly half a million residents from the tribal region.

The army said Monday it has begun a house-to-house search in Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan, which has long been a sanctuary for militant groups operating on both sides of the porous border.

The military says 15 militants have been killed in the initial ground advance.

Pakistan began the long-awaited operation in the region two weeks ago by bombing suspected militant hideouts from the air. Troops have since evacuated nearly half a million civilians.

The operation began days after militants attacked an airport in the southern port city of Karachi, killing 26 people.

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