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Militants overrun Pakistan fort

(CNN) — Islamic militants overran a border fort in northwestern Pakistan during a pitched battle Wednesday, killing seven Pakistani troops and leaving more than a dozen unaccounted for, a military spokesman said.

The militants breached the walls of the colonial-era outpost along the Afghan border with explosives and seized the fort after a firefight that lasted about 12 hours, said army Lt. Col. Baseer Hadier Malik.

The outpost is in a part of the tribal territory of South Waziristan that is a stronghold of Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud — the man the Pakistani government has named a prime suspect in the December 27 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

About 300 fighters armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades took part in the assault against a garrison of 40 members of Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps, Malik said. They remained in control of the base late Wednesday.

Malik told CNN that 15 border guards escaped and seven were killed, leaving 18 missing.

Pakistan has attempted to crack down on the largely lawless tribal areas along the Afghan border under U.S. pressure.

U.S. intelligence concluded in 2007 that the Taliban and its al Qaeda allies have carved out a new safe haven in that region, using it to stage attacks inside Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities have notified the U.S. military of the incident, U.S. military officials said.

A U.S.-led invasion overthrew the Taliban after al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks, but U.S. and allied troops are now battling a resurgence of the fundamentalist Islamic militia in Afghanistan’s south.
Militants overrun Pakistan fort – found here.

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January 16, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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