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19 killed in Pakistan clashes

world Updated: Jun 24, 2008 15:45 IST
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Nineteen people, including a top Taliban commander, have been killed in incidents of violence and clashes between security forces and militants in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province and the adjoining tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, officials said on Tuesday.

Pakistani Taliban commander Khan Agha was killed and two militants were injured when security forces retaliated against an attack on them by militants in the restive Swat valley in NWFP early Tuesday morning.

The Taliban attacked a security forces convoy in the Sambat area of Matta sub-district and the troops retaliated, killing the Taliban commander.

The security forces cordoned off the area and curfew was imposed in Matta, a key town in Swat district, to facilitate the movement of troops, local officials told Dawn News channel.

However, local Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said two militants were killed and as many injured.

Meanwhile, security forces launched search operations in Jandola area of Tank district in the NWFP following clashes between two rival Taliban groups that killed 12 people. The fighting between the rival groups has now stopped.

Members of commander Baitullah Mehsud's Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan attacked followers of deputy commander Mirbaz Khan of the Turkistan group on Monday.

Khan is the chief of a pro-government peace committee in the Tank area. Mehsud's men also kidnapped 15 members of the peace committee.

In a separate incident, militants in the semi-autonomous Aurakzai Agency killed six persons they had kidnapped over a month ago. Their bodies were found today in a market in the region, officials said.