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Pakistan Army Recaptures NW Militant Stronghold

Pakistan's military says its troops killed some 60 militants in the new offensive

Pakistan's army says its forces have recaptured a key Taliban stronghold in a region near the Afghan border.

A year ago, Pakistani forces had declared the group of villages called Damadola free of militants following a 2008 offensive. But officials say Taliban and al-Qaida militants recently returned to defend the strategically-located stronghold north of Khar, the main town in the Bajaur tribal agency.

Pakistan's military says its troops and a tribal militia, backed by warplanes and helicopter gunships, killed some 60 militants in the new offensive. The military's account has not been independently verified because aid workers and journalists are largely barred from the region.

Damadola has been the site of several U.S. drone missile strikes in recent years targeting al-Qaida leaders.