42 militants killed; air raid on Taliban occupying Sikh areas | world | Hindustan Times
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42 militants killed; air raid on Taliban occupying Sikh areas

At least 42 Taliban terrorists were killed in airstrikes by fighter jets and ground clashes in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt, where a deadly ambush by militants at a checkpost on Friday claimed the lives of four security personnel.

world Updated: Jul 10, 2009 22:53 IST

At least 42 Taliban terrorists were killed in airstrikes by fighter jets and ground clashes in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt, where a deadly ambush by militants at a checkpost on Friday claimed the lives of four security personnel.

Jets and helicopter gunships pounded positions of Taliban insurgents who had taken over homes of the minority Sikh community in the restive Orakzai tribal region, killing 39 militants, including a senior commander.

Reports said 14 militant camps were destroyed during the air strikes in Chapri Ferozekhel and Ghiljo areas of Orakzai.

Militants affiliated with insurgent commander Tariq Afridi and Hakimullah Mehsud, a close aide of Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud, had occupied several homes of Sikhs who fled the troubled region after failing to pay “jiziya” or a tax on non-Muslims levied by the Taliban.

In Khar, the headquarters of troubled Bajaur agency near the Afghan border, some 20 to 25 militants attacked a checkpost, killing four personnel of the Levies or a local militia, who were manning it.

No group claimed responsibility for the incident though the Taliban are usually blamed for such attacks. The Pakistan Army has said Bajaur has been cleared of the Taliban but the latest attack suggests they are still active in the area.