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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 March 2007, 20:57 GMT
'Fifteen die' in Pakistan battle
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Clashes between tribesmen and foreign militants near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan have left at least 15 people dead, security officials say.

Shooting went on all day near the town of Wana in the troubled tribal area of South Waziristan, the officials said.

Fighting appears to have broken out after a failed attempt on the life of a local elder. Twelve of the dead were reported to be Uzbeks.

Tensions over foreigners are high after peace deals with Pakistan's government.

Foreign militants are accused of taking part in raids over the border in Afghanistan. Under the controversial agreements, they must leave the tribal region or end attacks.

Market shooting

Details of Tuesday's clashes around Azam Warsak, a village about 12km (7.5 miles) west of Wana, are sketchy.

Gun position at the high altitude Mangrotai border post
Tens of thousands of Pakistani troops are in the area
A security official in Peshawar told the BBC that the local gunmen were members of the Darikhel Wazir tribe.

Several hundred of them exchanged fire with the foreign militants, who are accused of taking part in an attempt on the life of local pro-government elder Malik Saeedullah Khan, the officials said.

He escaped unhurt when shots were fired at him in the main market in Azam Warsak, but at least one of his brothers was killed in the fighting which followed, officials said.

Pro-Taleban militants in the tribal areas have killed dozens of people, including government officials and tribal elders, in recent years.

More than 700 Pakistani troops have died fighting the militants since 2003 when the army moved into the lawless tribal border areas.


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