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Pakistan fighting leaves 21 dead

Pakistan troops on Sunday killed 11 Taliban militants in separate clashes in a tribal region, while 10 more died in a gunbattle with locals in the restive Swat valley, officials said.

world Updated: Oct 27, 2008 00:30 IST

Pakistan troops on Sunday killed 11 Taliban militants in separate clashes in a tribal region, while 10 more died in a gunbattle with locals in the restive Swat valley, officials said.

The clashes in Bajaur region, which borders Afghanistan, came a day after the military announced it had recaptured an Al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold in the area after two months of fighting which left 1,500 rebels and 73 soldiers dead.

In one incident, insurgents attacked a security post on the outskirts of Bajaur’s main town of Khar. Troops retaliated, killing six Taliban.

Five more fighters were killed when troops attacked a suspected militant base in Charmang district, another security official said, updating an earlier toll.

Major General Tariq Khan, head of the paramilitary Frontier Corps force, told reporters in Khar on Saturday security forces backed by helicopter gunships had driven insurgents out of Loisam, a strategic town in Bajaur which is at a crossroads of extremist supply routes.

Separately 15 people including 10 Taliban militants were killed in a gunbattle with locals in the northwestern Swat valley, which has been rocked by a violent campaign for Islamic law, officials said.

The clash erupted when supporters of radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah tried to kidnap a religious leader who has raised a Lashkar, or armed group, against Taliban militants, a military official said.