Tags: Pakistan | win | Taliban | triabl

Pakistan Claims Taliban Win in Tribal Area

Wednesday, 02 Jun 2010 09:10 AM

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — More than a dozen militants were killed Wednesday in a district where Pakistan declared an end to major combat operations hours earlier after a two-month assault, security officials said.

Helicopter gunships shelled suspected Taliban hideouts near the towns of Kaasha and Toti Mela in the northwest Orakzai tribal district, killing seven militants, local administration official Sajjad Ahmed told AFP.

More than a dozen militants attacked an army checkpost in the Shahu Khel area in which two soldiers were wounded, the official said.

"Troops retaliated killing six militants and wounding eight. The attack was launched by a group of 15-20 militants," Ahmed said.

Other security officials said 20 militants were killed and 12 wounded in helicopter gunship attacks and ground clashes in upper parts of Orakzai.

It is impossible, however, to confirm casualty statistics independently in what is a closed military zone inaccessible to aid workers and journalists.

A military spokesman in the northwest said there was "complete peace" in the lower reaches of Orakzai, where displaced families had started to return over the past two weeks, he said.

Intelligence sources said upper Orakzai was more volatile and troops were engaged against militants in Ghalju and Dabori towns.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP that major operations in Orakzai were over, although "stabilisation" operations may continue.

"There are very small pockets of resistance which are being cleared, but the major population centres have been cleared and that includes the passes that were connected to the Tirah valley in the north," he said.

Since March 26, 46 soldiers and 106 militants had been killed in Orakzai, Abbas said. Around 333 suspects were arrested and 200 military personnel wounded, he added.

Pakistani forces opened a new front in Orakzai on March 24 in a bid to flush out Taliban who escaped a major assault last year on South Waziristan, which the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leadership turned into its headquarters.

The TTP, a key architect in a bombing campaign that has killed 3,400 people across Pakistan in three years, grabbed the global spotlight after the United States accused the group over a failed car bomb plot in New York on May 1.

Washington says Pakistan's tribal belt, which lies outside direct government control, is an Al-Qaeda headquarters and a stronghold for militants plotting attacks on US-led troops fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — More than a dozen militants were killed Wednesday in a district where Pakistan declared an end to major combat operations hours earlier after a two-month assault, security officials said.
Pakistan,win,Taliban,triabl
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2010-10-02
Wednesday, 02 Jun 2010 09:10 AM
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