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Pakistan Military Attacks Suspected Terrorist Camp - 2004-09-09


Pakistan says it has destroyed a suspected training facility for foreign militants near the Afghan border. Military officials say 50 people died in the attack.

The attack took place in the semi-autonomous tribal region known as South Waziristan. Pakistani troops there have been trying to hunt down suspected foreign militants linked to the al-Qaida terror network.

Officials and witnesses say, Pakistani fighter planes and helicopter gunships pounded a gathering of suspected foreign militants in a village 25 kilometers northeast of Wana, the administrative center of the border region.

Military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan gave the details of the operation. "There were confirmed reports of terrorist training activity being conducted by foreign elements including Uzbeks, Chechens, and few Arabs," he said. "The facility was successfully knocked out through a precisely targeted operation, which lasted for about two hours this morning."

Reports say about 50 people were at the site. "We are quite sure that since the operation was successful, quite a number of terrorists must have been killed," added Major-General Sultan.

Pakistani officials believe hundreds of al-Qaida linked foreign and local militants are hiding in South Waziristan. They say the militants have used the remote border area to train fighters and coordinate attacks inside Pakistan.

On the Afghan side of the border, U.S. military and Afghan government officials have repeatedly complained that these militants also launch cross-border attacks to undermine the reconstruction process in Afghanistan.

A clash between government forces and suspected militants on Wednesday in the same region left at least six people dead and several injured, including three soldiers.

The Pakistan military has fought suspected militants in the border area several times in the past several months.

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