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Page last updated at 10:45 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 11:45 UK

Troops in fatal Kashmir avalanche

Soldier in Indian-administered Kashmir
The mountains of Kashmir are renowned for their harsh terrain

At least seven soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir have been killed in an avalanche in the Shamsabari mountain range, the army says.

Lt Col JS Brar told the BBC that the avalanche occurred in Kupwara district on Tuesday morning.

He said the soldiers who died were manning a counter-insurgency post. Eight other soldiers were rescued.

Soldiers and militants recently fought a six-day-long battle in the inhospitable Shamsabari range.

Insurgents

"The eight [survivors] have been provided medical aid and their condition is stable," a military spokesman told the Associated Press news agency.

Map

Correspondents say that Kupwara is close to India's de facto border with Pakistan, 130km (80 miles) north of Srinagar, the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The area is notorious for its frequent rain and heavy snow.

India says that soldiers posted there are preventing the entry of suspected Islamic insurgents from Pakistan.

The Indian army said it killed 17 suspected rebels and lost eight of its own men last month in one of the major battles in recent years in the region.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents who have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989. Islamabad denies the charge.

More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict since 1989.



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