Three soldiers, 25 militants killed in fighting

Afp July 11, 2010

PESHAWAR: Three military personnel were killed as Taliban insurgents attacked security forces in the South Waziristan tribal region, sparking clashes in which 25 militants were killed, officials said on Saturday.

“Militants attacked an army patrol in Makeen district of South Waziristan late Friday in which three soldiers were killed and eight wounded,” a security official said.

Taliban fighters also attacked a security post in Kaniguram Valley, 30 kilometres north of South Waziristan’s main town of Wana overnight, injuring five soldiers, another security official said.

Military officials said troops launched retaliatory strikes, killing 25 militants in the two areas.

Independent confirmation of casualty figures is impossible because the area is closed to aid workers and journalists.

South Waziristan, considered a stronghold of militants and headquarters for the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was the scene of a major government offensive against the insurgents last year.

Washington has branded the rugged tribal region a global headquarters of al Qaeda and the most dangerous place on earth.

Further north in the Orakzai tribal region, security forces claim to have killed at least 15 militants in fresh air raids.

Warplanes bombed militant hideouts in Khadezai, Teri and Akhund Kot areas of Upper Orakzai Agency, killing 15 militants and injuring 10 others, sources told The Express Tribune. Six bases of insurgents were also destroyed in the blitz.

Security forces claim to have killed hundreds of militants in a ground offensive launched in Orakzai Agency in March this year. Ground troops, backed by heavy artillery and air power, moved into the region following reports that militants fleeing a military operation in South Waziristan were regrouping in Orakzai.

Separately, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Kohat Range Abdullah Khan claimed on Saturday that they have arrested at least 190 suspects during a search operation in the region. He told journalists that the suspects were rounded up from the districts of Hangu, Kohat and Karak. AFP (with additional input from our correspondent)

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2010.


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