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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Islamists condemn Pakistan army moves
Islamic parties in Pakistan have condemned an ongoing military operation in a northern western tribal region.

On Monday a soldier was killed in clashes as tribal groups resisted the troops in the Mohmand region.

About 2,000 Pakistani forces moved into the semi-autonomous region last week in an attempt to stop remnants of the Taleban and al-Qaeda taking refuge in Pakistan.

At the same time a joint US Afghan operation was launched on the other side of the border to trap rebel fighters in the mountains.

Leaders of Pakistan's Islamic alliance, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, discussed the operation in at a meeting in Peshawar - the capital of the North West Frontier Province - on Monday.

Resistance

"The operation is dangerous for the country as it constitutes a violation of a long standing agreement with tribesmen not to encroach upon their special status," MMA leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmed told the AFP news agency.

A Pakistani soldier was killed when group of fighters resisted the advance of Pakistani troops in the Mohmand region, close to the Afghan border.

The chief administrator of the district blamed Afghan tribesmen, backed by warlords, saying they fired on Pakistani forces and then ran off.

About 2,000 Pakistani troops have been deployed in the border region and about 500 US and Afghan troops were positioned on the Afghan side.

The MMA leader says US troops were also operating on the Pakistan side of the border.

That has been denied by the government in Islamabad.

Interior Secretary Tasneem Noorani told AFP: "We have secured seven out of eight passes in the Mohmand and there are some pockets of resistance at just one pass."




SEE ALSO:
Pakistan's unruly province
27 May 03  |  South Asia


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