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Dozens dead as army clashes with Taliban militants

Latest update : 2008-09-25

Seven Pakistani soldiers and 25 Taliban militants are reported to have been killed in fierce fighting in a Pakistani tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Islamabad launched a massive military operation in the area last month.

Seven Pakistani soldiers and 25 Taliban militants were killed Wednesday in fierce fighting in a Pakistani tribal region bordering Afghanistan, the army said.
   
The fighting erupted in the Bajaur district, where the Pakistani military launched a major operation last month that has left 800 people dead and 300,000 civilians displaced.
   
"There was a fierce clash between security forces and miscreants in Bajaur in which 25 miscreants were killed and seven soldiers embraced martyrdom," chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP.
   
A senior military official said separately: "Both sides exchanged heavy rocket and mortar fire.
   
"Close air support was also called in to attack militant positions."
   
Earlier Pakistani warplanes pounded a militant tunnel network in the Bajaur district, killing 20 Taliban insurgents, local security officials said.
   
"At least 13 people were killed in repeated raids overnight in Rashakai, Khazana and Takhata towns where the militants had underground tunnels," a local security official said on condition of anonymity.
   
"The bombing was very heavy and planes carried out repeated sorties" until dawn on Wednesday, residents said.
   
Local officials said attacks resumed on Wednesday morning in two other towns in Bajaur, killing another seven militants.
   
Islamabad has come under intense pressure from Washington to crack down on Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants who have created safe havens in Pakistan's troubled tribal regions along the Afghan border.
   
 

Date created : 2008-09-24

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