18 militants, 3 soldiers killed in fresh Pak clashes

Pak forces were close to overrunning all 3 Taliban strongholds in S Waziristan as they killed 18 militants in fierce fresh battles.

Updated: Nov 07, 2009, 18:35 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistani forces were close to
overrunning all three Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan
as they killed 18 militants in fierce fresh battles in the
lawless region and adjoining areas over the last 24 hours.

While the Army has taken control of two Taliban hubs
of Sararogha and Ladha, they were battling for full control
over Makeen, which they described as "nerve centre" of
Pakistani Taliban.

With the capture of these towns, Army would be nearing
seizing almost all the South Waziristan, raising question
marks, whether they will pause or march into North Waziristan.

Declaring that the Operation Rah-i-Nijat (path of
salvation) was being conducted "very effectively", Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the Army campaign will be
completed before the expected time frame.

The fighting over the last 24 hours left a total of 12
militants dead and five Pakistani soldiers wounded, the
military said in a statement.

Army also said that large cache of weapons and
ammunition have been recovered as troops in the course of
operations came across tunnels dug deep into the mountainside
to store weapons.

Taliban struck back by attacking an Army check-post in
Torawari village in neighbouring Hangu area killing three
paramilitary soldiers. Troops based in the nearby forts
responded by killing at least six attackers.

Bureau Report