Pakistanis kill 15 militants in northwest clashes | world | Hindustan Times
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Pakistanis kill 15 militants in northwest clashes

Pakistani security forces killed 15 militants in separate clashes in northwestern Pakistan, officials said on Thursday. A captured commander who led troops to a militant hide-out also was killed in the fighting.

world Updated: Dec 03, 2009 16:06 IST

Pakistani security forces killed 15 militants in separate clashes in northwestern Pakistan, officials said on Thursday. A captured commander who led troops to a militant hide-out also was killed in the fighting.

The deadliest battle was in Swat Valley, the site of a major military offensive this summer on Taliban fighters that was declared a success but has been the scene of sporadic violence since. Ten suspects were killed in overnight fighting following a raid on a militant hide-out near the Swat Valley area of Kabal, Maj. Mushtaq Ahmed said.

Troops had been led to the site by Abu Faraj, a militant leader who was captured in September and accused of plotting suicide bombings in the area. Faraj also was shot and killed, Ahmed said, declining to provide more details.

Police have said Faraj's real name is Nasim Shah and claimed he was a close aide of Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah. Five other militants were killed when security forces repelled attacks on three checkpoints in the Bajur area that borders Afghanistan, local official Adalat Khan said.

Pakistan faces heavy pressure from the U.S. to crack down on Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents who attack American and Afghan troops across the border.

The army has launched several offensives, including one under way in South Waziristan. Many fear U.S. plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will push more militants into Pakistan. Also Thursday, a roadside bomb targeted a police checkpoint at a bridge near the main northwestern city of Peshawar. Police officer Haroon Babar said no casualties were reported.

Militants have carried out a wave of deadly attacks in and around Peshawar in apparent retaliation for the offensive in the South Waziristan, where Al-Qaida and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding.

Separately, officials raised the death toll in Wednesday's suicide bombing against naval headquarters in Islamabad to two after one of those wounded died.