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Pakistani President Says 'High-Value Target' Surrounded

Washington, 18 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said in an interview with CNN today that Pakistani forces have a "high-value target surrounded" in a security operation in northern Pakistan.

Musharraf did not say who the target was, but his comments came as Pakistani forces were conducting an operation in the Waziristan tribal area along the Afghan border, to capture or kill suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters there.

The Pakistani military today sent reinforcements into the area, including several helicopters, and troops took up strategic positions in the mountains overlooking the village of Kalusha.

Fighting between paramilitary troops and suspected extremists has become increasingly intense since 16 March, when heavy gunfights, artillery, and mortar fire killed many fighters on both sides.

U.S. troops are conducting an operation on the other side of the border, in Afghanistan, in case suspects in Waziristan try to flee over the border.

Copyright (c) 2004. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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