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Pakistani Troops Kill More than 38 Militants in Tribal Area


Pakistani security officials say government troops have killed more than 38 militants in the latest fighting in a restive tribal area near the Afghan border.

Troops using helicopter gunships and artillery killed at least 24 al-Qaida-linked militants in the Bajaur tribal region. Officials say the shelling began on Sunday and continued into Monday.

Two local pro-government tribesmen and at least four militants were also killed today after exchanging fire in Bajaur.

Military officials say another 10 militants were killed in ongoing battles with security forces in northwest Pakistan's Swat Valley today.

Elsewhere in the northwest, officials say four people, including a local politician, were wounded in a roadside bombing in Dir district.

Pakistan has been hit by a number of attacks in recent weeks, including a suicide bombing at an Islamabad hotel that killed more than 50 people last month.

Pro-Taliban leaders have said the attacks are in retaliation for the military's offensive against militants in the country's northwestern tribal regions.

The military says at least 1,000 militants have been killed in the Bajaur area since security forces launched a campaign there in August.

The Pakistani government is under pressure from neighboring Afghanistan and the United States to take on Taliban and al-Qaida militants along the Afghan border. Authorities say the militants use Pakistan to attack soldiers in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.



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