10 militants killed fleeing NW Pakistan offensive

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2009 6:55 AM

Pakistani security forces targeted militants fleeing a major army offensive close to the Afghan border Monday, killing 10 of them, an army officer said.

Heavy artillery and helicopter gunships were used to hit suspected militants in Kurram district, said Maj. Fazlur Rehman, a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps. He said insurgents who had recently arrived in the region from nearby South Waziristan were the targets.

The army deployed 30,000 troops against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan in mid-October and has retaken many towns in the region. But most of the some 10,000 militants along with their leaders are believed to have fled to Kurram and Orakzai to the north rather than fight.

The United States has welcomed the effort, but wants the Pakistanis to do more against the insurgents in the border area blamed for violence across the border in Afghanistan.

It was impossible to independently report on the fighting in Kurram because journalists are banned from visiting the region and others close to Afghanistan.