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31 killed as jets bomb militants

Up to 31 insurgents were killed after Pakistani fighter jets bombed the hideouts of two commanders along the Afghan border, security officials said.

One of those killed was reported to be a Pakistani Taliban leader in the Orakzai region, named Moin ud Din, according to one source.

It was not possible to independently confirm the information because the border region is effectively off-limits to reporters. Militants have in the past disputed army accounts of casualties, and human rights groups say civilians often die in military actions.

There were air strikes in the bordering regions of Kurram and Orakzai, said government officials Wajid Khan and Ameer Gul.

The attacks followed clashes between soldiers and militants over a strategic mountain top in Kurram last week in which more than 60 people were killed.

In recent years the Pakistani military has launched a series of offensives against militants in the border regions, which are only under the nominal control of the central government.

They have had some success, but large areas remain under the effective control of extremists, who use the region to plan attacks in Pakistani cities and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, gunmen attacked a Pakistani paramilitary checkpoint in the Marwarh area of south-western Baluchistan province, killing six troops and setting off a gun battle, government official Fateh Bangalzai said.

Soldiers have discovered the bodies of seven unarmed men near the checkpoint. It was unclear who the seven were and who had killed them. Mr Bangalzai said authorities were investigating.

Baluchistan is home to a separatist rebel force that often attacks representatives of the Pakistani state there.


From Belfast Telegraph