Thirty militants killed in South Waziristan street battles

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Thirty militants killed in South Waziristan street battles. News suppressed about the casualties of troops and civilians.

Wednesday, 04 Nov, 200904/11/09

ISLAMABAD: Troops were Wednesday locked in deadly street battles with Taliban fighters, pushing a ground offensive deeper into militant-held territory, the military said.

A senior military official told AFP the army had ‘taken’ the strategic town of Sararogha in the third week of fighting, while 30 insurgents were reported killed in the last 24 hours.

Pakistan has vowed to quash Tehrik-i-Taliban in South Waziristan, part of the border area with Afghanistan that Washington calls the most dangerous place in the world because of the abundance of Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Sararogha shot to infamy within the tribal belt as the operational centre of former Tehrik-i-Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone attack in August.

The military provides the only regular information coming from the frontlines. None of the details can be verified because communication lines are down and journalists and aid workers barred from the area.

Pakistan launched its fierce air and ground offensive into the northwest region on October 17, with some 30,000 troops backed by fighters jets and helicopter gunships laying siege to Tehrik-i-Taliban bolt-holes.

‘Today, security forces entered into the important stronghold of terrorists, the town of Ladha. Intense fighting is taking place in (the) streets,’ the military said in its daily update.

It said ‘security forces have cleared a major part’ of Sararogha, but a senior official in northwest Pakistan said the town had been captured.

So far, the military has claimed to have killed more than 390 militants since the operation began, with 45 troops losing their lives.

The long-anticipated assault into South Waziristan came after a spring offensive in and around the northwestern Swat valley, which the government declared a success in July. However, sporadic outbreaks of violence continue.

Militants kill two women teachers in Bajaur: officials

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KHAR: Two women school teachers were killed Wednesday when armed militants ambushed their car in Pakistan’s troubled tribal region bordering Afghanistan, local officials said.

The women were travelling from the school they taught at in Khar — the main town in the northwestern tribal district of Bajaur — when insurgents bearing automatic weapons sprayed the vehicle with bullets.

‘Two women teachers were killed and two men were injured in the firing by militants,’ administration official Adalat Khan told AFP. Tribal police confirmed the incident.

Insurgents who oppose the education of girls have bombed and destroyed hundreds of northwestern schools in recent years.

Militants have recently stepped up activity in Bajaur, one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts straddling the Afghan border, which are considered a stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaida-linked extremists.

Officials warned that the Taliban and their allies were increasing attacks in areas such as Bajaur to divert attention away from South Waziristan, the Taliban bastion where the military is conducting a major ground offensive.

A similar military assault in Bajaur starting in August 2008 ended in February with the army claiming success. But militant violence continues to rock the area.

Hundreds of extremists are believed to have fled into Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas to carve out safe havens after the ouster of Afghanistan’s hardline Taliban regime in a US-led invasion in 2001.— AFP

Courtsey : Dawn News, AFP, AP.

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