At least 150 militants and 50 Pakistani troops killed in clashes

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Pakistani army says that at least 150 to 200 Taliban militants, along with 50 Pakistani troops have been killed in recent battles between al-Qaeda, Taliban fighters and Pakistani troops along the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan in an area known as North Waziristan. At least 20 other troops were injured and at least 15 are reported to be missing. 12 civilians are also reported to have been killed.

"We have told them to surrender and give up their weapons," said Major General of the Pakistani army, Waheed Arshad. Militants say that they are going to attempt to overthrow the government and take the newly elected Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf out of power.

The battles began on Saturday October 6 in the town of Mir Ali and have lasted three days so far. Army officials say that they will "continue punitive action until complete peace is restored." The battles were triggered after several Pakistani officials were targeted and peace talks with officials in Islamabad failed to go forward.

In September, Osama bin Laden issued a new audio tape in which he told militants to resist Pakistani troops and rebel against the army. He also asked militants to seek revenge for the assault on the Red Mosque when almost 100 were killed by militants and troops.