Khar (Pakistan): Pakistani security
forces on Friday killed 11 militants during clashes in a lawless
district near Afghanistan, one day after several hundred
rebels staged a cross-border attack, officials said.
The skirmishes took place in the Sarakai and Mukha
areas northwest of Khar, the main town of Bajaur district
where Pakistan has carried out a series of offensives against
Taliban and other Islamist insurgents since August 2008.
"A group of militants attacked security forces and
local lashkar (militia) during a joint search operation in the
two areas, triggering a gunfight," local government official
Mohammed Ilyas Khan said to a news agency.
He said that at least 11 militants and one member of
the lashkar were killed in the clashes.
Khan said he did not know the nationality of the
militants killed but said they had been hiding since
yesterday`s attack on a village in Bajaur.
Local security officials confirmed the clashes and
Five civilians and nine militants were killed in
yesterday`s clash, which Pakistani officials said was the
third cross-border attack into the northwest this month,
reportedly carried out by some 250-300 militants.
Afghan police denied that the militants came in from
Afghanistan. The border is porous and tensions between Afghans
and Pakistanis are high over responsibility for Islamist
militant strongholds in both countries.
Pakistan has repeatedly claimed to have eliminated the
militant threat in Bajaur, one of seven districts in the
country`s semi-autonomous tribal belt that the United States
sees as the global headquarters of al Qaeda.
Earlier this month, Pakistan conveyed "strong concern"
to the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad, calling for "stern
action" by Afghan and US-led NATO troops to crack down on
militants in eastern Afghanistan.