Security forces kill 10 militants in Pakistan’s Khyber area

February 24th, 2009 - 3:19 am ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Feb 24 (DPA) Pakistani security officials Monday claimed to have killed 10 militants in the country’s restive tribal district along the Afghan border.
Helicopter gunships and artillery shells targeted a militants’ location in the Khyber area, which serves as a vital route for supplies for NATO troops deployed in landlocked Afghanistan, said an official from Frontier Corps, the paramilitary troops fighting the Taliban.

“Our forces destroyed their communication system, 15 vehicles and killed 10 of their men,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Extremists of the Lashkar-e-Islam organisation dominate the Khyber district that borders Afghanistan. They assist Taliban militants to launch raids on NATO supply vehicles using the Khyber Pass.

More than 400 trucks and containers have been torched or plundered over the last three months, resulting into repeated disruptions in NATO supplies.

NATO forces rely heavily on supplies of fuel, equipment and other items through Khyber.

According to the US State Department, up to 75 percent of the US military supplies, including 40 percent of the fuel for its troops stationed in Afghanistan, passes through the famous Khyber Pass.

The disruptions in Pakistan have forced the US and its NATO allies to look for new supply routes through Central Asian states and even Iran.

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