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Pakistan Says 18 Militants Killed in New Operation

Printer Friendly VersionPrinter Friendly VersionSend to a FriendSend to a FriendPakistani officials say troops backed by helicopters killed at least 18 militants during the latest offensive in the country's lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Defense officials said they launched the offensive Tuesday to target insurgents blamed for recent bombings in the country. On Monday, Pakistan's military said troops killed 18 militants while pursuing Taliban fighters during a second day of clashes in the town of Shahu Khel.  The clashes took place in the Orakzai region, near South Waziristan where Pakistani forces have been pressing an with an offensive against Taliban fighters.  South Waziristan has been a traditional stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud. Pakistani officials said at least 16 other militants were killed Sunday during fighting in the Bajaur district.  The military's claims of militant casualties cannot be independently verified because journalists and rights groups are barred from the battlefield. The Pakistani military says it has made significant progress against the Taliban and other insurgents in South Waziristan since launching its ground offensive five weeks ago.  Commanders say they have captured most major Taliban bases and towns in the effort, called "Operation Path to Deliverance."