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Page last updated at 05:08 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 06:08 UK

Pakistan hit 'kills 35 Taleban'

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Pakistan says its security forces have killed 35 Taleban militants, including two commanders, near the Afghan border.

The authorities say 12 would-be suicide bombers were also among the dead in north-western Orakzai district.

The reported attack came after a suicide car bomb blamed on the Taleban killed dozens of people at an anti-militant tribal meeting on Friday.

An offensive against the Taleban in the nearby province of Bajaur is also reportedly still ongoing.

No confirmation

"Helicopter gunships carried out a successful raid at a militant hideout in Orakzai district, killing 35," news agency AFP quoted a senior security official as saying.

"The raid was carried out after ground intelligence that the Taleban were meeting and their commanders and potential suicide bombers would be there," the agency quoted a paramilitary official as saying.

He said among the dead were around a dozen potential suicide bombers.

There has been no word from Taleban yet and there has been no independent confirmation of the incident.

Analysts say Taleban and al-Qaeda have been basing themselves in the lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border, where until recently they were safe from American attack.

But in recent months, the US and Pakistani military have been attacking the militants' bases. Local tribal leaders have also taken up arms against the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

Friday's car bomb attack came as tribal elders met to raise an anti-Taleban militia.

The Taleban has killed dozens of tribal elders they accuse of backing the government in recent years.

The US has recently increased strikes in tribal areas along the Afghan border, targeting suspected militants.



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