Zee News.com – 2008-11-09 17:37:19
Six Killed as NATO Jets, Artillery Target Pak’s Khyber Region
ISLAMABAD (November 9, 2008) — Six persons were killed and three others injured when NATO jets and artillery operating from Afghanistan bombarded militant positions in Pakistan’s restive northwestern Khyber tribal region on Sunday.
The jets and artillery targeted militant positions at Tirah valley in Khyber Agency following an exchange of fire between rebels and Afghan security forces deployed on the border, TV channels quoted officials as saying. At least six persons were killed and three others injured in the Tirah region, the officials said.
The exchange of fire between the militants and Afghan security forces on the border continued for some time, creating tension in the area.
US drones operating from Afghanistan have carried out a series of missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt in the past few months, killing dozens of people, including top Al Qaida and Taliban militants. Many civilians, including women and children, have also died in these attacks, which the Pakistan government has described as a violation of the country’s sovereignty. Pakistan has called on the US to stop such attacks immediately, saying only its armed forces have the right to act against militants within its territory.
Pak forces kill 13 ultras
At least 13 militants were killed when combat jets and artillery pounded Taliban positions in Pakistan’s troubled Bajaur tribal region today, officials said.
The security forces pounded militant hideouts in Dama Dola, Mamoond and Kharkey, all strongholds of the local Taliban in Bajaur Agency, officials of the army and local administration said.
Six militant bases and an arms depot were destroyed during the offensive, they said. The security forces said they had killed 15 militants yesterday.
The Pakistan Army has claimed to have killed over 1,500 militants since it launched an operation in Bajaur in August. Nearly 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting and many of them are now living in refugee camps in the adjoining North West Frontier Province.
Officials said fresh contingent of troops arrived in Bajaur today to intensify operations against the Taliban. Tribal elders have called on the government to step up its offensive to eliminate militants from the region.
Seven Civilians, 15 Insurgents Killed in NATO Air Strike
AFGHANISTAN (November 9, 2008) — Seven civilians and 15 insurgents were killed in north-west Afghanistan in the second air attack this week by international forces, officials said on Thursday.
Police said a convoy of NATO troops, Afghan police and army forces was returning from a search operation in the Ghormach district of Badghis province yesterday when they were ambushed by Taliban militants and returned fire.
“The battle went on for hours. NATO troops called in air support which bombed compounds in the area, killing seven civilians and 15 Taliban,” district governor Abdullah Waqif told media.
The air strike put an end to the six-hour fighting, which also wounded six civilians. Women and children were among the dead and wounded but Waqif said he had no specific breakdown.
Provincial police chief Mohammad Ayob Niazyar confirmed the air strike but said he was unaware about the exact details of casualties.
US-led coalition forces, which provide air support for the Afghan and NATO troops, said they were investigating the allegations of civilian casualties.
“We are aware of an incident and we are investigating it,” they said. On Monday coalition forces bombed a village in the Shah Wali Kot district of southern Kandahar province after they were fired at by insurgents.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and locals said some 40 civilians were killed. The international coalition — under pressure from Kabul because of mounting non-military deaths — said they killed nine militants and could not confirm civilian casualties.
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