08/07/2008, 00.00
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Pakistan: 25 fundamentalists killed in clashes between army and Taleban in North West

Fresh violence along the border with Afghanistan, a stronghold for al-Qaeda and Taleban militias. In an overnight clash 25 rebels and one soldier are killed, while an attack in Khar claims the lives of two members of the governing army.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least 25 pro-Taliban militants and two Pakistani soldiers were killed in fierce clashes in a tribal region along the Afghan border, which has become a hotbed of violent battles between the two sides.  Two soldiers were also killed in the exchange.

The clashes erupted late yesterday evening when militants intercepted a security vehicle in the Loi Sum area in Bajaur, a known sanctuary for al Qaeda and the Taliban militants. The fighting continued overnight as army helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts in the mountainous region.

This morning in a separate attack, militants ambushed a security vehicle with a remote-controlled bomb near Khar, the main town of Bajaur, killing two soldiers.

The security situation across the northwest has deteriorated in recent weeks, where the militants have claimed large portions of the territory setting up Islamic courts in an open challenge to the ruling government.

Yesterday, the fundamentalists also announced that they are preparing dozens of child suicide bombers ready to target sites across the country should the government in Islamabad fail to cease its military operations in Taleban controlled areas.


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