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Taliban, Pak security forces clash; 36 killed

August 27, 2012 22:10 IST

Clashes between Pakistani security forces and Taliban militants have left 36 people, a majority of them rebels, dead in Bajaur tribal region over the past three days, military sources said.

Two members of a tribal militia, which is backed by the army, and three soldiers were killed during the clashes with militants in Batwar area of Bajaur Agency.

A total of 31 militants were killed in the fighting, the sources said.

Five security personnel were injured, the sources said.

"Most of the areas have been cleared of militants.

However, the operation is still continuing to evict a few remaining militants in Batwar area," a military source said.

The sources said the militants launched attacks on Pakistani border posts and villages from bases on the Afghan side of the border.

The Pakistan Army says several militant leaders fled to Afghanistan following military operations in 2008-09.

On the other hand, the Pakistani Taliban claimed that fighting had continued for the fourth day in Bajaur Agency.

Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed in a statement that scores of Pakistani soldiers were killed along with members of the tribal militia.

"Eight bodies are in our custody, including four of the army and four of peace committee men," Ihsan said.

He claimed the Taliban captured four army vehicles and managed to destroy a tank.

"Just three (militants) received injuries in this whole battle," he claimed.

He further claimed that Taliban had gained control of Salarzai district in Bajaur and more fighters would soon join the battle. His claims could not be independently verified.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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