Pakistan: Militants, Army Clash In Tribal Areas

At least 22 militants and three soldiers were killed in clashes in northwest Pakistan, where the military is waging a fierce battle with Taliban-linked militants, officials said Sunday.

AFP
Fifteen militants and three soldiers were killed late Saturday in the scenic Swat valley during an ongoing army operation against fighters loyal to pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah, a senior military official told AFP.

Pakistani helicopter gunships and artillery pounded militant positions in Matta and Kabal districts, both Fazlullah strongholds, the official added, on condition of anonymity.

The mountainous Swat valley was until last year a popular tourist destination where many Pakistani city dwellers went for their annual holidays and featured Pakistan’s only ski resort.

But it has since been turned into a battleground since Fazlullah, who has links to Pakistan’s Taliban movement, launched a violent campaign for Islamic Sharia law.

Pakistani troops on patrol in the troubled Bajaur region in ... 
Pakistani troops on patrol in the troubled Bajaur region in September. At least 22 militants and three soldiers were killed in clashes in northwest Pakistan, where the military is waging a fierce battle with Taliban-linked militants, officials said Sunday.(AFP/Pool/File/Aamir Qureshi)

Separately, soldiers killed seven militants and injured nine others in Mohmand tribal district, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, a paramilitary spokesman told AFP.

The gunfight in Mohmand erupted late Saturday when around 200 Taliban militants surrounded a checkpost near Karapa village and started firing rockets, he said.

“The security forces bravely repulsed the attack and killed seven militants and injured nine others while a paratrooper was also wounded in the clash.

“The security forces targeted the militants with artillery and mortar guns and forced them to flee from the scene,” the spokesman said.

Separately, militants blew up a bridge on a key road in Mohmand, but the blast caused no casualties and the repair work had been started, he said.

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