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Pakistan kills 27 militants: military

Pakistani forces on Friday killed 27 alleged militants in the lawless northwest Khyber district, the paramilitary Frontier Corps said.

world Updated: Oct 02, 2009 20:23 IST

Pakistani forces on Friday killed 27 alleged militants in the lawless northwest Khyber district, the paramilitary Frontier Corps said.

"Attack helicopters shelled militant training centres on Friday in the Tirrah valley of Khyber, killing 27 rebels," Frontier Corps spokesman Major Fazal-ur-Rehman told AFP.

He said artillery pieces were also used to pound rebel positions. Nineteen vehicles and four hideouts belonging to militants had been detroyed, he said.

In September the military launched a fresh offensive against Islamist insurgents in the border region, home to the fabled Khyber Pass into neighbouring Afghanistan.

The target of the current campaign is Lashkar-e-Islam (Army of Islam), a militant group battling the government in Khyber that has some ties to the Pakistan Taliban.

Khyber is on the main land and supply route through Pakistan into Afghanistan, where international forces are battling a Taliban insurgency.

Pakistan's military has claimed a number of successes against the Islamist hardliners this year in and around Swat valley, but attacks continue across the country, mostly in the northwest.

The semi-autonomous northwest tribal belt has become a stronghold for hundreds of extremists who fled Afghanistan after the US-led invasion toppled the hardline Taliban regime in the neighbouring country in late 2001.