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Pakistani Forces Kill 18 Militants

Special to The Times

Pakistani security forces shot dead at least 18 militants in the volatile North Waziristan tribal region near the border with Afghanistan early Friday, security officials said.

Syed Zaheerul Islam, administrator of the troubled region, said one soldier was killed and two others were wounded in the two-hour battle. He also said that foreign militants might be among the dead. The government claims could not be independently verified.

Officials said the fighting began in the Tith Nary area, southwest of Miram Shah, the regional administrative headquarters, when militants attacked a government outpost. The attackers fired rockets on the troops and security forces returned fire, authorities said.

One security official said that Cobra helicopters were called in to assist ground forces in repulsing the attack.

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“We have not counted the bodies, but from the blood littered at the area and some eyewitnesses reports, we can presume that militants have suffered heavy casualties,” the official said.

A recent wave of clashes has left nearly 200 militants dead in the region, officials said. Authorities have set a night curfew in Miram Shah to curtail attacks on security forces and government installations.


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