Pakistani tribesmen kill 15 militants


Islamabad : A pro-government militia killed at least 15 Islamist insurgents in Pakistan’s northwestern Mohmand tribal district near the Afghan border, a security official said on Tuesday.

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Local tribesmen in the district’s Ambar village Monday night asked the guerrillas to leave their area, triggering an intense gunfight that continued through Tuesday morning.

“The clash left 15 militants dead, while three tribesmen also suffered bullet wounds,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

All those killed were local insurgents, including five from eastern Punjab province, according to the official.

Tribes in some parts of the lawless region have lately taken up arms against Taliban fighters as government forces intensified their efforts to quell the growing insurgency.

Troops are fighting Taliban remnants in the northwestern Swat Valley and its nearby districts, and preparing to go after the top Pakistani Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud, in South Waziristan tribal district, a known hub of Al Qaeda militants.

The US and other Western countries have hailed Pakistan’s counterinsurgency operations in the restive tribal belt, which is used by the Taliban to launch deadly strikes against international forces operating in Afghanistan.

In a separate incident, two people were killed and one was injured Tuesday when an oil tanker supplying fuel to the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan was attacked by suspected militants near the Afghan-Pakistani border, an official said.

Gunmen targeted the oil tanker in the Landi Kotal area near the Khyber Pass, the main land route used to ferry food and military supplies to foreign troops in landlocked Afghanistan.

Militants occasionally attack convoys and sites where trucks park at night to disrupt the supply line.