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Pakistan army kills 10 militants as jirga meets

PAKISTAN: At least 10 suspected pro-Taliban militants were killed Thursday in a Pakistani military operation in a volatile tribal area on the border with Afghanistan, the army’s top spokesman said.

Helicopter gunships fired on suspected militant hideouts in restive North Waziristan after several roadside bomb attacks earlier in the day against military targets in the area, in which four soldiers were wounded.

The violence came as hundreds of tribal leaders from Pakistan and Afghanistan opened four days of talks in Kabul aimed at devising a strategy to defeat Islamist extremism in the rugged mountainous border zone.

“We have received reports from local sources that 10 to 12 miscreants were killed when troops backed by helicopters retaliated after IED attacks,” Pakistan’s chief military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad told AFP.

Earlier, a roadside bomb blew up near a military checkpost between Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, and the village of Datta Khel, wounding four, officials said.

In a separate incident, troops travelling in a convoy between Miranshah and nearby Mir Ali had a narrow escape when a bomb exploded minutes after it passed by.

Militants launched an early morning rocket attack on a military base in Miranshah, which triggered retaliatory artillery fire by troops, another official said, adding there were no casualties.

In neighbouring South Waziristan, security forces were looking for 16 soldiers missing and presumed kidnapped, amid reports that suspected militants wearing civilian clothes had captured them, officials said.

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