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Pakistan kills 30 militants near border

Associated Press / April 9, 2011

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KHAR, Pakistan — Government security forces killed 30 alleged Islamist militants yesterday in a region close to the Afghan border, a Pakistani official said, bringing to more than 80 the number purportedly killed in two days of fighting there.

There was no way of verifying the limited information released about the battles in Mohmand, where the military has repeatedly tried to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaeda militants.

The army, which has an interest in exaggerating its battlefield successes, blocks access to Mohmand and other Afghan border regions.

The skirmishes began Thursday when troops in the Paizai area of Mohmand were attacked, said Maqsood Hasan, a deputy administrator in the region. The troops returned fire and killed 10 suspected insurgents, and they called for air support that left more 44 more insurgents dead.

Hasan said three troops were killed and two or three civilians also died, but it was unclear which side was responsible.

Hasan said another 30 insurgents were killed yesterday in the same area, but gave no details.

He said Paizai was around 2 miles from the Afghan border.

The Pakistani Army has carried out several operations in the border region, including in Mohmand and neighboring Bajur, over the past three years, killing many thousands of insurgents, according to its accounts. Several times it has declared victory, only to see violence resume.

Also yesterday, the bullet-riddled bodies of three men accused by the Taliban of acting as US spies were found in North Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal region that America has repeatedly targeted in missile strikes, two Pakistani intelligence officials said.

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