Clashes leave 100 militants, nine soldiers dead in Pakistan

August 11th, 2008 - 1:02 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
Islamabad, Aug 11 (DPA) Pakistan’s security forces have said that 100 Taliban militants and nine soldiers had died in four days of fighting in the Bajaur tribal district bordering Afghanistan, as thousands of militants surrounded the district’s main town. Clashes between the government forces and Taliban gunmen started in Bajaur late last week when the rebels surrounded a paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) base in Loi Sam area.

“During the last four days more than 100 militants have been killed and nine security personnel have also died,” FC media centre in Peshawar said in a statement Sunday.

But Major Murad Khan, assistant military spokesman based at army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, put the security forces death toll at 13, saying it could increase as some more personnel were missing.

A Taliban spokesman meanwhile claimed they had killed more than 50 troops so far and seized around a dozen.

Maulvi Omar also claimed that in taking over the Loi Sum base the insurgents had made a major advance and surrounded the Bajaur district’s administrative centre Khar from four sides.

“We have not yet decided whether to attack Khar or not,” he told DPA telephone from an undisclosed location.

Major Murad refuted the claim, saying that army gunship helicopters and artillery were on Sunday pounding the militants’ positions around Loi Sum.

However, local authorities as well as residents in at least seven villages surrounding Khar confirmed to dpa the presence of Taliban.

“They (Taliban) had set up checkpoints on the roads and were raiding the houses looking for the troops they believed were hiding there,” said a local resident who identified himself only as Amir.

Pakistan’s tribal districts are regarded as safe havens for Al Qaeda and Taliban elements who frequently infiltrate into Afghanistan to strike coalition troops fighting the US-led war on terror.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |