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Pakistan Orders Crackdown on Militants


Authorities in Pakistan have ordered a crackdown on militants, after a series of deadly attacks that rocked the country in recent weeks.

Officials say police detained more than 200 suspects in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Monday, just two days after suicide blasts killed 102 people in the nearby Mohmand tribal region. It was unclear if any of those arrested had connections to the attack.

In the eastern state of Punjab, authorities say they have detained close to 100 members of banned militant organizations in recent days. The extremist Sunni Muslim group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and the Islamic charity, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, considered a front for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, were among those targeted.

Some politicians in Punjab have been accused of links to the banned militant groups. A suicide attack killed 42 people at a Muslim Shrine in Punjab's capital city, Lahore, on July 1.

The new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, praised Pakistan's efforts to combat militancy following talks with Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad on Monday.

In a statement, Petraeus said recent events demonstrate both the common threat posed to Pakistan and Afghanistan by insurgents and the efforts the Pakistani military is making to counter the threat. Petraeus also said he looked forward to working with General Kayani to improve regional security.

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

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