Pakistan forces kill 19 Taliban militants along Afghan border

Other News Materials 17 September 2008 17:43 (UTC +04:00)

Pakistani helicopter gunships and artillery on Wednesday pounded Taliban militant positions in the country's lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border, killing at least 19 rebels, an army spokesman said, reported dpa.

"In the Bajaur tribal district today, the ground troops secured several areas and moved forward toward Loi Sam, the militants' headquarters," Major Murad Khan said Wednesday.

He said the positions insurgents had "fortified around Loi Sam were engaged by artillery and gunship helicopters, leaving at least 19 militants killed and numerous injured."

The clashes in Bajaur erupted in early August when dozens of rebels attacked a checkpoint on a strategic hilltop along a route previously used by militants to cross into Afghanistan and attack international forces there.

Around 800 militants have been killed in the clashes, according to official data. But it does not include civilian casualties, which remain unaccounted for because of the difficult geographical and security situation of the area.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced because of the fighting in the district, which remains inaccessible to mainstream media.