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Pakistan arrests over 40 Taliban suspects

Pakistani police arrested over 40 suspected Taliban fighters in a series of raids in the southwestern province.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 17:35 IST

Pakistani police arrested over 40 suspected Taliban fighters in a series of raids in the southwestern province of Baluchistan near the Afghan border on Saturday, officials said.

The arrests were made in the provincial capital Quetta and in a raid on a hotel in the nearby town of Kuchlak.

"We have arrested around a dozen suspects from Kuchlak and 33 from Quetta," Qazi Abdul Wahid, a senior police official in Quetta, told Reuters. He said police were interrogating the suspects to establish their identities.

Police in Quetta have mounted a crackdown against suspected Taliban in recent months amid complaints from Afghanistan, the United States and NATO powers that militants were staging attacks in Afghanistan from the safety of Pakistani territory.

Last week police arrested six suspected fighters wounded in fighting in Afghanistan while in July they arrested around 250 in Quetta.

Scores of those arrested in July were handed over to Afghan authorities but were then released after finding that none appeared to be members of the Taliban movement.

U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001 after the hardline Islamists refused to give up al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

This year Afghanistan has seen the worst violence since then with hundreds killed in a renewed Taliban insurgency.

Afghan officials say while Pakistan has killed and arrested hundreds of al Qaeda militants since joining the U.S.-led war on terrorism after Sept. 11, it has been soft in dealing with the Taliban.

Pakistan denies the charge. It says it has deployed nearly 80,000 troops along its 2,400 km (1,500 mile) frontier with Afghanistan and wants Afghan and NATO-led foreign forces to tighten border security to stem militant activities.

First Published: Oct 07, 2006 17:35 IST