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Military

SLUG: 2-311636 Pakistan Anti-Terrorist Groups (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=1/8/04

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=PAKISTAN / ANTI-TERRORIST OPS (L)

NUMBER=2-311636

BYLINE=MICHAEL KITCHEN

DATELINE=ISLAMABAD

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

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)

NEB/HK/MK/JJ/RAE



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