SLUG: 2-311636 Pakistan Anti-Terrorist Groups (L)
TITLE=PAKISTAN / ANTI-TERRORIST OPS (L)
INTRO: Pakistan says it has launched a military strike at suspected militant and terrorist positions near the Afghan border. V-O-A's Michael Kitchen reports from Islamabad on this latest attempt to flush out alleged foreign terrorists from Pakistani territory.
TEXT: Pakistani Army and paramilitary troops launched the helicopter search and attack mission in south Waziristan - one of the country's semi-autonomous so-called "tribal agencies."
Military spokesman, Major-General Shaukat Sultan Khan, described the target of the operation as suspected foreign terrorists.
He told V-O-A local authorities first negotiated with the alleged militants to get them to surrender, but that effort failed.
/// SULTAN ACT ///
They were suspected . foreign terrorists, . and they were offered to surrender voluntarily by the government, which they have failed to do, and hence this search operation has been launched.
/// END ACT ///
Pakistan has conducted a series of such strikes against suspected clandestine bases for foreign militants using the country as a safe haven.
Targets of these operations have included the al-Qaida network, blamed for major terror attacks on the United States in 2001, and the Taleban, former Afghan rulers ousted by U-S-led forces for harboring al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden. These groups are believed to be conducting cross-border raids into Afghanistan.
The Pakistani strikes, along with intelligence and law enforcement operations, have resulted in the capture of hundreds of suspected al-Qaida members and other militants.
The most recent of these military operations took place in October. Eight foreign militants were killed and more than a dozen captured. That operation also cost the lives of two Pakistani soldiers. (SIGNED)
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