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19 killed in Pakistan’s restive NWFP

world Updated: Aug 15, 2009 21:16 IST

PTI
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Five Pakistani soldiers were among six persons killed when a suicide car-bomber struck an army check post on Saturday as five people died in clashes between Taliban and a pro-government militant leader in North West Frontier Province.

In fresh unrest in Pakistan’s troubled Swat valley, six persons, including five soldiers, were killed and four others injured when an explosive-laden vehicle struck an army check post on Saturday while eight militants died in a skirmish with security forces in the same region.

At least five persons were killed on Saturday in clashes between supporters of slain Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and a pro-government militant leader in Pakistan’s restive NWFP. Fighters owing allegiance to Mehsud, reportedly killed in a recent US drone attack in the tribal areas, attacked an office of the group led by his rival Turkistan Bhitani at Gomal Baaz near Dera Ismail Khan. One member of Bhitani’s group was killed and another injured, reports said.

Bhitani’s men then launched a counter-attack and killed four Taliban fighters. Bhitani heads a “peace committee” that is backed by the government.

A statement issued by the military said three soldiers were killed when the suicide car-bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a check post near Khwazakhela, a former Taliban stronghold in Swat. However, the state-run APP news agency quoted a police official as saying that five soldiers and a civilian died in the attack.

Meanwhile, security forces killed eight militants in a gun battle while conducting a search operation near Kanju in Swat, the military said.