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Pakistani Troops Seize Key Militant Stronghold


Pakistan's army says it has captured a key militant stronghold near the Afghan border, in an ongoing offensive against al-Qaida and Taliban militants in the Bajaur tribal region.

Pakistani Major General Tariq Khan says military forces gained control of Loi Sam, a strategic town at the center of militant supply routes. He told reporters visiting the area Saturday that the military victory followed heavy resistance from militant fighters.

Pakistani security forces have been battling al-Qaida and Taliban militants in Bajaur since August. Khan says nearly 1,500 suspected militants and 73 troops have died in the operation so far.

But he warned Saturday it could take several more months before Pakistani authorities gain complete control of Bajaur.

The United Nations says the fighting has displaced about 190,000 people, many of whom have fled into neighboring Afghanistan to escape the violence.

The United States has been pushing Pakistan to take stronger action against the militants. Washington says the fighters are using Pakistan as a base to attack U.S. and Afghan troops in Afghanistan.

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