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Pakistan Military Attacks Suspected Terrorist Hideout

  • Benjamin Sand

Pakistani security forces struck a suspected terrorist hideout in the country's remote tribal region near the Afghan border. Government officials say more than 15 militants were killed in the pre-dawn attack.

Army spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan says the attack was launched early Saturday in the North Waziristan tribal area.

He says the strike killed between 15 and 20 militants, many of them suspected of carrying out repeated attacks on security forces in recent weeks.

Security officials in the region say a number of foreigners were among those killed.

Hundreds of foreign militants, including Central Asian and Middle Eastern Islamic extremists, are thought to be hiding out in the rugged tribal region.

U.S. and Afghan officials say al-Qaida and Taleban insurgents have established terrorist training camps in North Waziristan. Pakistan rejects those claims, but also says it is doing everything it can to crack down on militant activity along the Afghan border.

Islamabad has deployed about 80,000 troops to the area.

Military officials say they have captured hundreds of al-Qaida and Taleban supporters and killed at least 300 militants in the tribal area in the past year. Nevertheless, local residents say support for the Taleban, a fundamentalist Islamic group, remains strong there.

The Taleban ruled Afghanistan for several years before a coalition of forces led by the United States ousted it in 2001 because of its ties to the al-Qaida terror network.

Taleban militants have reportedly seized control of a number of more remote towns and villages in Pakistan near the Afghan border.

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