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Pakistan: US Missile Strike Kills 10 Militants

By VOA News
11 August 2009

Pakistani officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed at least 10 militants in South Waziristan.

The officials said the apparent drone aircraft attack Tuesday targeted a suspected militant camp in the northwestern tribal area near the Afghan border.

A strike in the same region last week was reported to have killed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

The Pakistani Taliban says the reports of Mehsud's death are false, but Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik told VOA Urdu service Monday that there is credible intelligence confirming he was killed and that agents are working to get forensic proof.

The United States is suspected of carrying out dozens of drone air strikes targeting militants in the region over the past year. The Pakistani government publicly denounces the attacks, but at the same time, it has launched its own operations in the area against Mehsud.

Pakistan's operations in South Waziristan are part of its expanded military campaign, which began in April after militants violated a peace deal that allowed the use of strict Islamic law in parts of Malakand district, including Swat Valley.

The fighting has displaced nearly two million people. Pakistan's government is helping thousands of people return home after declaring the area mostly cleared of Taliban fighters. But reports of skirmishes persist, and the military has admitted there are "pockets of resistance" in the mountainous terrain.

One such area is Chagarzai in Buner, where much of the population has not returned because of reports of Taliban militants still operating there. Late Monday, militants burned down nine primary schools, one basic health unit and the office of a private company.

Meanwhile in Peshawar, police say militants fired rockets into the northwestern city, killing two civilians.

Officials say militants also attacked a nearby paramilitary base. They say three of the attackers were killed when troops returned fire.



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