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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Pakistani Troops Kill 5 in Taliban Stronghold

VOA News 22 November 2009

Pakistani forces pursuing Taliban fighters near the Afghan border say troops killed five suspected militants in the latest clashes.

A military statement published Sunday said troops conducting clearing operations killed the militants in the last 24 hours.

The military says its forces also defused 10 improvised bombs, cleared some 14 caves and arrested four suspects.

Pakistani forces in South Waziristan are working to clear Taliban fighters from a region that has been a traditional stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

The military's claims of militant casualties are not confirmed because the offensive is taking place in a remote, dangerous part of the country largely off limits to aid workers and journalists.

In a separate development, on Saturday Pakistani authorities unveiled a list of more than 8,000 people, including President Asif Ali Zardari, who two years ago were granted immunity from corruption charges.

The country's Minister of State for Law, Afzal Sindhu, released the names of those who were protected by a 2007 amnesty which is set to expire next week.

Other top officials who faced corruption charges include Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, and Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani.

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf implemented the amnesty under a plan to share power with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was also accused of corruption. Ms. Bhutto was later assassinated and her husband Asif Zardari elected president. President Zardari is among several politicians who had cases withdrawn against them.

Pakistan's Supreme Court said in July that the amnesty order needed parliamentary approval in order to stand and set a date of November 28 for its expiration. The government recently tried and failed to secure parliamentary approval to extend the amnesty due to resistance from opposition parties.

Officials say the Supreme Court could decide to reopen cases against those on the list.

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