Scores of militants attacked a Pakistani military base on Monday, sparking clashes in which 32 rebels and two soldiers died in the tribal areas near the Afghan border.
AFP - Scores of militants attacked a Pakistani military base on Monday, sparking heavy fighting that killed up to 32 rebels and two soldiers in the lawless tribal badlands, officials said.
The clashes took place in the Shireendara area of Orakzai, where troops have encountered stiff resistance since launching a new offensive against Taliban militants three weeks ago in the lawless tribal belt snaking the Afghan border.
Military officials have announced a running death toll of more than 200 militants in the Orakzai operation since March 24, but the figures cannot be verified independently because access to the remote area is extremely limited.
"Troops pounded artillery when a group of some 200 militants attacked their base," local administration official Sajjad Ahmad told AFP.
"The attack was repulsed and up to 32 rebels and two soldiers of paramilitary Frontier Corps were killed," Ahmad added.
Eight soldiers were wounded in the attack and the bodies of the militants were collected up by the paramilitary, the official said.
Local intelligence officials also confirmed the attack and casualties.
Orakzai is a former bastion of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Hakimullah Mehsud, whom US officials believe probably died in a US drone attack in January. The Pakistani military says it has no evidence he is in the area.
Under US pressure, Pakistan has in the past year significantly increased operations against militants in its tribal belt, which Washington has called the most dangerous region on Earth and a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.
The rugged tribal terrain became a stronghold for hundreds of extremists who fled neighbouring Afghanistan after the US-led invasion in late 2001.
In the northwestern town of Bannu on Monday, one person was killed and three injured when two bombs planted outside a house exploded, officials said.
"A passer-by was killed and three others, including two women and one child, were injured when two of three timed bombs planted outside a house in Bannu city exploded," local police official Din Mohammad said.
A local intelligence official also confirmed the incident and said the third bomb was successfully defused.
Date created : 2010-04-12