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Seven Pakistani soldiers killed in Taliban attack

Written By Kepri Online on Saturday, February 4, 2012 | 04:06

Peshawar, Pakistan - Seven Pakistani soldiers were killed and three others injured in Taliban attack on their checkpoint in the northwestern tribal region of the country, security officials said Friday.

Thursday night attack at a checkpoint in Dand Shidano Kurram region, triggering clashes that left 18 militants were also killed, said a senior military officer.

Illustration (photo:mediaindonesia.com)

"The rebels stormed the post at around midnight, killing seven soldiers," said the official, who asked not to be named. He added that troops killed 18 militants retaliate.

Other security officials confirmed the attack.

Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP in a telephone contact it claimed responsibility for the attack, and said 12 soldiers were killed Frontier Corps and four others were captured by guerrillas.

"We carried out the attack to avenge the murder of our commander Taj Gul in Khyber agency," said Ihsan, without giving details of when he was killed and his interests in the group's ranks.

"We have killed 12 Frontier Corps soldiers captured alive and four others," he said.

He added that the militants also seized a large cache of weapons.

Independent confirmation of the number of casualties are very difficult to obtain in the tribal belt, Taliban and Al Qaeda and banned journalists and aid workers into the region.

The checkpoint is located between the Kurram and North Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border, a zone which is considered a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban militant group linked to Al Qaeda.

The county has experienced a surge in clashes in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, dozens of heavily armed Taliban fighters attacked a Pakistani military post in the area, sparking clashes that killed eight soldiers and wounding 15 others, the military said.

Helicopter gunships were deployed when the fighting broke out, and officials said 35 militants were killed.

In July, Pakistan launched an offensive to expel militants from Kurram, describing the operation has been done - with limited success - in many areas across the tribal region, but the guerrillas once again reunited.

Semi-autonomous tribal region of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan is full of the insurgency, Afghanistan and the Taliban fighters linked to Al Qaeda.

On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama asserted for the first time that the aircraft, unmanned spy the U.S. for attacks by Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan's tribal badlands, a program which increased under his administration.

Pakistan, whose relations with the United States deteriorated in 2011 related to the attacks that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and an air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, said more than 3,000 soldiers have been killed in fighting insurgents. (source)
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