Pakistan clashes kill 11 soldiers, 24 militants

Friday, December 24, 2010

ISLAMABAD - Eleven soldiers and 24 suspected militants were killed Friday when five government checkpoints were attacked in Pakistan’s restive northwest, an official said.

The security check posts were near the Afghan border in the Mohmand district, one of the seven tribal districts where government forces are fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda rebels.

“Some 150 suspected militants conducted the raids and fired at five different security checkpoints after midnight,” said Major Fazal Ur Rehman, a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps. “Intense fighting ensued for hours.”

He said four soldiers were injured in the battle, from which the militants fled, leaving bodies behind.

Mohmand is a known hotbed of local and foreign militants, and security forces have launched a campaign against them with the help of local tribesmen.

The insurgents have responded by attacking and bombing government and pro-government officials.

In early December, two suicide bombers attacked a meeting of pro-government tribal elders, killing at least 43 people, including 11 tribal policemen, and injuring more than 100.

At least 107 people were also killed and more than 100 injured when two suicide bombers attacked a gathering in the Yakaghund area of the district in July.

The militants are thought to move across the porous border with Afghanistan at leisure, using the district’s mountainous terrain to train, hide and launch attacks on foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Also Friday, suspected Islamist insurgents attacked a school with a remote-control bomb in the Palosai area of Peshawar, capital of the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, inuring two children and a teacher.

TV footage showed that at least two classrooms and the outer wall of the school were badly damaged.

No one took responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban have destroyed dozens of schools in the region.

Peshawar has witnessed a number of deadly attacks, but the security situation has improved in recent months because of regular operations by security forces in the area.

Filed under: Terrorism

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