Dozens of fighters 'killed' in Pakistan

The paramilitary and army are expanding their campaign against Taliban believed to have fled a major offensive in South Waziristan last year.

Dozens of fighters 'killed' in Pakistan


Pakistani troops killed at least 34 fighters after about 150 Taliban attacked a military checkpost in the northwest on Friday.

The paramilitary and army are expanding their campaign against Taliban believed to have fled a major offensive in South Waziristan last year and on Wednesday launched an assault to drive them from neighbouring Orakzai.

A senior military officer and four paramilitary soldiers were also killed in the attack in Orakzai, a day after Pakistani jets killed nearly 50 people, "mostly fighters", in strikes on a school and a seminary in the same region, a government official said.

Fourteen soldiers were wounded in the assault.

Orakzai is one of seven Pakistani tribal regions near the Afghan border.

In the latest attack, about 150 Taliban launched a pre-dawn assault on a checkpoint in Orakzai, triggering fierce fighting.

"They attacked from three sides which continued for nearly three hours in which a lieutenant colonel and four other security officials were killed," said government official Khaista Rehman.

"Security forces launched the counter-attack in which 24 militants have been killed," he said. A paramilitary official, said as many as 30 fighters may have been killed.

Army jets and helicopter gunships later targeted various parts of Orakzai and killed another 10 fighters, said government official Mohammad Asghar Khan.

None of the official death tolls provided by the armed forces can be verified independently in remote areas of operations because they are under military supervision and access by reporters is extremely limited.

US officials have praised Pakistan for launching assaults against fighters and also want the military to crack down on groups who resist NATO troops in Afghanistan.

This week, Pakistan and the United States held high-profile talks in Washington, designed to forge a closer relationship between the two countries, whose strategic alliance has angered locals.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the nations were starting a "new day" with the dialogue.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Mart 2010, 15:02

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