Pakistani forces kill 36 militants in northwest

September 7th, 2009 - 12:25 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, Sep 6 (DPA) Pakistani security forces killed 36 militants in the northwestern region near the Afghan border, officials said Sunday.
Troops aided by gunship helicopters and artillery fire targeted two militant hideouts during the continuing offensive in the Khyber tribal district.

“Thirty-three militants were also killed in this operation,” said a press statement issued by the Frontier Corps paramilitary force.

Troops also destroyed seven vehicles and 15 houses used by the fighters of pro-Taliban Lashkar-e-Islam rebel group, which is behind scores of killings and kidnappings, mostly for ransom.

The group’s leader, Mangal Bagh, has warned of retaliatory attacks, if the operation was not stopped.

More than 110 Islamic militants have been reported killed in the fighting, which started earlier this week.

Khyber is the main supply route for US and NATO forces battling the Taliban insurgency in landlocked Afghanistan.

Separately, three fighters were shot dead as troops carried out a search operation against Taliban remnants in remote Liluani village of the volatile Swat district, located 140 km from Islamabad.

Two others were apprehended during the exchange of fire, the military said in a statement.

Ten insurgents surrendered to the government forces in different areas of Swat, according to the statement. Among them was a 10-year-old boy who received guerrilla training from the militants.

Swat and its nearby districts have largely been cleared of Taliban insurgency but sporadic incidents of violence, including suicide bombings on security forces, began last month.

The army claims it has killed around 2,000 militants since launching the onslaught in late April.

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