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60 dead as militant groups clash in Pakistan

January 28, 2013 13:18 IST

At least six militants have died in fresh fighting between the Taliban and a pro-government militant group in Khyber tribal region of northwest Pakistan, taking the death toll in clashes that erupted last week to nearly 60. 

Four Taliban fighters and two members of the pro-government Ansar-ul-Islam were killed in fighting late on Saturday.

Four more were injured in clashes in Maidan area of Khyber Agency, media reports said on Monday.

At least 30 Taliban fighters and 23 members of Ansar-ul-Islam were killed last week.

Ansar-ul-Islam militants were attacking the Taliban at regular intervals at Senghakh hilltop, which separates Adamkhel area of TirahValley from Arghinjo area in Orakzai Agency.

The clashes erupted early on Friday morning when the Taliban attacked the other group's positions in the region between from Arghinjo and Tirah Valley and took over five hilltops.

The Ansar-ul-Islam hit back and retook four hilltops the same day.

Media reports said a faction of the Taliban led by warlord Tariq Afridi had established its control in the area and expelled the Ansar-ul-Islam from one of its bases.

Both groups were using heavy weapons and a number of houses have been damaged. 

Reports said a large number of people had fled from the region to escape the fighting.

The Taliban reportedly torched three vehicles carrying food and supplies to Bagh, which is a stronghold of the rival group.

Another militant group active in Khyber Agency, Lashkar-e-Islam, has said it is not involved in the clashes.

In the past, hundreds have died in clashes between the Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansar-ul-Islam.

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