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Pakistani forces gun down 26 militants
PESHAWAR, Jun 5 (Agencies):
Published on 5 Jun. 2011 11:44 PM IST
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Pakistani security forces killed 26 Islamist militants believed to have crossed over from Afghanistan on Saturday in the fourth day of fighting close to the border, police said, highlighting the region’s instability along the frontier 10 years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Police officer Bahadur Khan said the insurgents crossed over into Upper Dir from Afghanistan’s Kunar province and opened fire on troops. They returned fire, killing 26 of the attackers, he said, adding troops suffered no casualties. It was not possible to independently verify his accounts, and a militant spokesman denied early claims by police of significant casualties.
Upper Dir has seen fighting since Wednesday, when dozens, possibly hundreds, of insurgents attacked a security post and killed 25 personnel and five civilians. The clashes forced many residents to flee. Although militants often target security forces, they have rarely launched such attacks from Afghanistan. Pakistan shares a long, porous border with Afghanistan and it has asked Kabul to take steps to stop any such future attacks from there.
Pakistani intelligence officials said Friday night’s drone attack in South Waziristan killed nine people, up from the figure of five reported soon after the strike. They said they were trying to identify the victims in the attack on a large compound.
The BBC quoted local people as saying Kashmiri was among the dead.
Kashmiri is one of Pakistan’s most wanted militants and has been linked to several of the country’s largest attacks. Some reports have linked him to last month’s attack on a naval base in Karachi. He is considered so close to al-Qaida that there has been some speculation he could replace Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US raid here last month. Asked about the report, prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said “he had no information”.
Verifying who has been killed in the drone strikes is difficult, and often initial reports turn out to be wrong, or are never formally denied or confirmed by authorities here or in the US. Sometimes militants release statements confirming the deaths, though often weeks or months after the attack. The US does not acknowledge firing the missiles, much less say who they are targeting.

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