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US Citizen Arrested for Trying to Enter Pakistan Tribal Area


Pakistani authorities are questioning a U.S. citizen arrested Monday in the country's violence-plagued tribal area along the Afghan border.

The man was detained at a police checkpoint while trying to enter the Mohmand area of North Waziristan, carrying an American passport and a laptop computer. The young man says he is a college student from the U.S. state of Florida hoping to visit a friend in the region.

Foreigners are required to get special permission from Pakistan's government to enter the tribal area.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman said he had no information about the arrest.

Elsewhere in Pakistan's northwest, security officials said that government troops have killed more than 40 militants in the latest fighting in the tribal area.

They say about 25 militants were killed in the Swat Valley Monday, along with two military personnel. More than a dozen militants were killed in the Bajaur region.

The Pakistani military has been carrying out an offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida militants in the country's tribal regions. The military says it has killed at least one thousand militants in Bajaur since August.

The U.N. refugee agency Tuesday said some 190,000 people have been displaced from the Bajaur region since the fighting began in August. It says that figure includes nearly 170,000 Pakistanis now living in the country's North West Frontier Province, plus 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans who have fled to Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan.

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.

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