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Taliban behind attack on Pak army camp

A group claiming to represent the local Taliban took credit for the suicide attack at an army camp at Dargai.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2006 14:38 IST

President Pervez Musharraf has vowed to continue his fight against extremist forces at home even as a group claiming to represent the local Taliban took credit for the suicide attack at an army camp at Dargai, in northwestern Pakistan, killing over 35 people and injuring another 40 recruits.

"We will continue to hunt down terrorists and extremists and bring them to justice," Musharraf said after a review meeting with his top aides Wednesday, Daily Times newspaper said.

"We are dealing with extremism and terrorism separately," Musharraf told a review meeting, indicating his government's dilemma in tackling Al-Qaeda remnants hosted by the tribals sympathetic to the foreign mercenaries and the Taliban.

An unknown caller telephoned senior Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai to claim that the tribals of the region hosting the Taliban fugitives from the neighbouring Afghanistan had 'changed' their policy not to attack the Pakistan Army after last week's air strike at a seminary in Bajaur agency on the border with Afghanistan.

"We had a policy not to attack Pakistani forces, but after the Bajaur attack we have changed our policy now," the caller told Yusufzai.

Yusufzai said the group is led by one Abu Kalim Mohammed Ansari, who claims to have 275 volunteers ready to be sent on suicide missions.

At least 83 people were killed when Pakistani security forces launched an air strike on a local madrassa, which the government said was being used to train Al-Qaeda terrorists.

However, local politicians and those associated with the madrassa said they were students.

Musharraf rejected claims by tribal leaders and local politicians, including Rahim Dad Khan of the Pakistan People's Party and Awami National Party chief Asfandiyar Wali Khan, that those killed were innocent seminary students.

He was particularly hard on the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the rightwing Islamist alliance that shares power in Balochistan and North West Frontier Province that has launched a campaign against Musharraf following the Bajaur air strike.

"MMA has no right to criticize us as they have been giving tickets to heaven to extremists," Musharraf was quoted by a minister as saying at his review meeting, apparently referring to MMA's open support to elements sympathetic to the Taliban.