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Rival groups clash kills 15 in Pak

world Updated: Jul 19, 2008 20:52 IST
Taliban

At least 15 people, including a militant leader, have been killed by the local Taliban in clashes with another rebel group in Pakistan's restive Mohmand tribal region.

Shah Khalid, the chief of a militant outfit known as the 'Shah group', and his deputy Qari Abdullah were among the 15 people killed in the fighting, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Doctor Asad told reporters on Friday.

However, state-run PTV reported that Khalid was killed after he had surrendered to Pakistani Taliban militants owing allegiance to commander Baitullah Mehsud.

The Shah group is linked to the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which was founded by former Lashker-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. It is also perceived as being pro-government.

Asad said Pakistani Taliban militants had captured 20 supporters of the Shah group and occupied their bases. The Taliban also seized 15 vehicles and arms from the rival group.

He told reporters that the Shah group had been creating problems for the Taliban at the behest of others.

The Taliban in Mohmand Agency are led by Omar Khalid, who is a deputy of Baitullah Mehsud. The tensions that erupted a few weeks ago between the Taliban and the Shah group are apparently linked to a turf war for control of the area.

Sources said the Shah group is involved in fighting US-led forces in Afghanistan and was not interfering in local affairs.