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16 killed in clashes in Pak's tribal belt

world Updated: Aug 09, 2009 22:27 IST

PTI
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A pro-government tribal leader and four of his supporters and 11 Taliban fighters have died in clashes in Pakistan's restive Mohmand tribal region, officials said on Sunday.

Malik Ajmal Khan, head of an anti-Taliban "peace committee", and four members of his group died in overnight clashes in Khwazai sub-division of Mohmand Agency, officials of the local political administration said.

Eleven Taliban fighters were also killed in the fierce skirmishes which erupted after a group of heavily armed militants attacked Khan's house at 2 am. Seven militants were also injured.

The clashes continued for about two hours. The Khasadar Force or local militia cordoned off the area and launched a search for militants.

Khan had sheltered several members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan who deserted the militant ranks. Khan succeeded Shah Khalid as chief of the peace committee after the latter was killed in a clash with the Taliban a few months ago.

The Pakistan government has propped up several "peace committees" formed by tribal leaders to take on the Taliban in the lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.