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Pakistani troops kill 40 militants near Afghan border

world Updated: May 27, 2010 14:20 IST

Reuters
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Pakistani warplanes bombed militant hideouts in the Orakzai region on Thursday, killing 15 fighters and bringing the insurgents' death toll from attacks to 40 in the past 24 hours, officials said.

Government forces have stepped up attacks in the northwestern Orakzai and Khyber regions on the Afghan border in recent weeks after largely clearing Taliban strongholds in other areas.

"Fighter jets bombed and destroyed five of their hideouts early in the day, killing 15 militants and wounding 25," said government official Nauman Khan.

Pakistani troops also used artillery to target militants' positions overnight in the same region.
Security officials said 25 militants were killed in the barrage.

The military says several hundred Taliban fighters have been killed in Orakzai in recent weeks but there has been no independent confirmation of that. The Taliban usually dispute the army's accounts of engagements, and no Taliban spokesmen were available for comment.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan joined the US-led campaign against militants after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

A year ago, the security forces began a series of sustained offensives and managed to clear many fighters from the Swat Valley, northwest of Islamabad, and from South Waziristan and Bajaur on the Afghan border.

In recent weeks, the army has turned its attention to the Orakzai and Khyber regions, where many fighters are believed to have taken refuge from the earlier offensives.