17 Taliban fighters killed in Pak`s tribal areas

Seventeen Taliban fighters were killed and 16 more injured in air strikes by helicopter gunships and a clash between militants and security forces in Pakistan’s restive tribal belt near the Afghan border.

Last Updated: Oct 28, 2010, 21:28 PM IST

Peshawar: Seventeen Taliban fighters were
killed and 16 more injured in air strikes by helicopter
gunships and a clash between militants and security forces in
Pakistan’s restive tribal belt near the Afghan border
on Thursday, officials said.

Helicopters gunships struck militant hideouts in
Khadezai, Mashatri Kandao and Mamozai towns of Orakzai Agency.

Twelve militants were killed and six more injured. Three
hideouts were destroyed in the air strikes, security officials
said.

Security forces have stepped up operations against the
Taliban in Orakzai Agency in the wake of a recent bomb attack
that killed six soldiers, including an officer. Mamozai is
considered the hub of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan fighters.

Five militants were killed and 10 more injured in a
clash between security forces and militants at Bakhmal Shah in
Mohmand Agency. The clash began after the Taliban attacked a
check post of the local peace committee? or anti-militant
militia.

A volunteer of the peace committee was also killed in
the gun battle that continued for over two hours. The Taliban
retreated due to the resistance put up by the peace committee
and security forces.

In a separate development, three bodies were found in
Shalo Ghandai village in Mohmand Agency. Taliban spokesman
Sajjad Mohmand said that the bodies were of men who had
resorted to looting and robberies while pretending to be
militants.

"We have punished them so that nobody will dare to act
in such a manner in future, Mohmand said.

Meanwhile, security forces seized seven remote-
controlled bombs during an operation against militants
involved in blowing up government schools in the restive Swat
district of Khyber-Pakhtukhwa province, officials said.

Troops rounded up thousands of people of Koza Bandai
village after imposing curfew and conducted a search of their
houses. Announcements were made on loudspeakers this morning
directing people not to leave their homes.

The seven bombs were found during the search. There
was no official word on whether the security personnel had
made any arrests though independent sources said 10 suspects
were detained during the operation.

Security forces in Kanju area, a former stronghold of
the Taliban, have directed the kin of absconding militants to
present themselves to the nearest security check post in the
morning and evening every day. Twenty-one militants from Kanju
are wanted by the security forces.

PTI