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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 13:26 GMT
Pakistan Islamic school destroyed
Pakistan's authorities blow up an religious school near Miranshah.
The school had alleged links with the Taleban
Security forces in Pakistan have demolished an Islamic seminary in the country's north-western tribal region, close to the Afghan border.

The privately-run Khalifa Islami Madrassa in North Waziristan is alleged to have links with fugitive Taleban leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani.

No-one was inside the school when it was destroyed.

The region has witnessed deadly clashes between government forces and suspected pro-Taleban militias.

Local tribesmen are said to have helped the security forces carry out the demolition of the Islamic school near the main town of North Waziristan, Miranshah.

The Associated Press news agency reports that soldiers removed books from the school before placing dynamite inside and blowing it up.

The school was apparently mainly used by Afghan students but had been closed since October.

Taleban denial

Separately, a spokesman for pro-Taleban militants in North Waziristan has denied reports that they have offered a ceasefire to the government in Miranshah, scene of the recent fighting.

The spokesman, Tariq Jamil, said they would continue to fight the security forces until "the government abandons military operations against the Taleban or al-Qaeda".

The BBC's Haroon Rashid in Peshawar says this is the first time that local militants in North Waziristan have come out with a statement to clarify their position on the recent fighting.

Earlier this month, more than 120 militants had been killed after three days of heavy clashes with security forces in North Waziristan, the Pakistani army said.

Correspondents say they were the fiercest clashes between army and pro-Taleban militants since the army went into the lawless tribal regions three years ago.

The fighting forced thousands of local villagers to flee the area and journalists were prevented from entering Miranshah.

Thousands of Pakistani soldiers have been deployed in the volatile tribal region along the Afghan border to flush out Taleban and al-Qaeda militants believed to be hiding in the area.

Observers say North Waziristan is among the last bases for the resurgent Taleban in their battle against the Afghan government.

Many foreign militants are believed to be fighting alongside heavily armed local tribesmen, most of them students at local Islamic schools.


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