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'Pak troops kill 25 Taliban in tribal area'

world Updated: Oct 02, 2008 19:28 IST

AFP
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Pakistani troops backed by artillery killed 25 Taliban militants in the latest clashes in the troubled tribal district of Bajaur on the Afghan border, officials said on Thursday.

Gunbattles erupted overnight and continued until late Thursday after militants attacked security checkposts in four villages in the restive region, a security official told AFP.

"There were fierce clashes and we have reports of 25 militants being killed" in the villages of Rashakai, Tang Khata, Bai Cheena and Khazana, the official said on condition of anonymity.

There was no way to independently verify the toll.

Separately, the local government has ordered Afghan refugees in Bajaur to leave the area within three days, a government official told AFP.

There are an estimated 70,000 Afghan refugees in Bajaur, who have been living there since the late 1970s after fleeing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military says more than 1,000 militants have been killed since it launched its offensive in Bajaur in early August, including Al-Qaeda's operational commander in the region, Egyptian Abu Saeed Al-Masri.