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Pak forces encircle Makeen, battle for Kaniguram; 11 killed

Last Updated: Sunday, November 1, 2009 - 23:12

Islamabad: Pakistani security forces on Sunday surrounded the important Taliban stronghold of Makeen and advanced along two other flanks in South Waziristan, battling militants for the control of the key town of Kaniguram, where nine militants and two soldiers were killed in fresh clashes.

Troops moving from Razmak in North Waziristan had surrounded Makeen from three directions and cleared the strategic Litta Sar area, the military claimed.

The forces were now consolidating their positions around Makeen.

As soldiers battled militants to secure Kaniguram, a hub
of Uzbek fighters, and nearby areas, five militants and two
soldiers were killed in clashes at Patok Narai.

A soldier was also injured in fighting in this area.

Militants attacked a security forces check post at Asman
Manza near Kaniguram. Four militants were killed and a soldier
was injured in the subsequent exchange of fire.

"Search and clearance operation of Kaniguram has
commenced and 50 per cent of the town has been cleared," a
military statement said.

Kaniguram, the second largest town in South Waziristan,
is considered one of the main bases of the Tehrik-e-Taliban
Pakistan led by Hakimullah Mehsud, and its control is
considered crucial for taking Sararogha.

Soldiers have been fighting militants in the streets of
Kaniguram, where the Taliban have converted houses into
bunkers and positioned snipers in towers.

The military also said its move to secure the important
Taliban stronghold of Sararogha was "progressing smoothly".

Troops have captured several heights overlooking the
town and were consolidating their positions.

The army believes the main Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
leaders are holed up in Sararogha.

Two militants were captured from different areas in
South Waziristan.

The military said it had also seized several caches of
arms, mines, explosives and ammunition and an explosives-laden

The army has deployed over 28,000 soldiers to flush out
an estimated 10,000 Taliban militants and foreign fighters
from South Waziristan.

The military says nearly 310 militants and about 35
soldiers have died so far in fighting though the figures
cannot be independently verified as journalists have no access
to the conflict zone.

Troops also continued search and clearance operations in
the northwestern Swat valley, where seven suspects were
captured in different areas.

Two militants surrendered to security forces in this

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, November 1, 2009 - 23:12
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