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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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Pakistani Fighter Jets Bomb Militant Hideouts

By VOA News
13 October 2009

Pakistani fighter jets have bombed militant targets in the South Waziristan region along the Afghan border, while troops continue to prepare for a broader ground operation against the militant hub.

The airstrikes follow four high-profile terrorist attacks that killed more than 100 people in the past week. On Sunday, a suicide bomber targeting a military convoy killed 41 people near the troubled Swat Valley. Militants also bombed a U.N. office in Islamabad, a crowded market in Peshawar and took soldiers hostage inside the army's main headquarters.

Tuesday's strikes targeted the Taliban strongholds of Makeen, Ladha and Nawazkot in South Waziristan. Officials say at least two people were killed in the attacks.

Pakistan's government says most of the militant attacks in the country are planned in the tribal regions.

The Pakistani military has been preparing for months to expand an offensive in the region. Officials say the assault will begin soon. U.N. observers say some 80,000 civilians have fled the tribal region in anticipation of a new offensive.

Even as the army prepares for a South Waziristan operation, thousands of troops continue to patrol the Swat Valley, where the government said in late May that it was close to declaring victory.

On Tuesday the Pakistani military said that in the last 24 hours, troops searching for militants encountered some 33 insurgents who voluntarily surrendered. Soldiers reporters several clashes, which killed five suspected militants and wounded two soldiers.

The military's claims have not been independently confirmed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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