Sunday, 18 September 2011

Eighteen Pakistani Official Mercenaries And Troops Killed As Militants Attack Khyber Checkpost

At least eighteen people were killed when Taliban militants attacked a checkpost manned by pro-government tribesman and security forces in northwest Pakistan, officials said on Sunday.

Armed with assault rifles and hand grenades, the militants killed four ethnic Pashtun tribesmen and a paramilitary soldier in the late Saturday attack.

Members of a tribal militia and security forces retaliated, killing 10 militants, said a senior government official in the Khyber region near the Afghan border, where the incident took place.

“A large number of weapons from the militants were also confiscated,” said the official, Rehan Khattak.

Pakistan’s Taliban have stepped up attacks on Pashtun tribes who have raised militias to help security forces.

At least 40 people were killed and 68 wounded when a suicide bomber attacked a funeral of a member of a pro-government tribe in the northwestern Lower Dir district on Thursday.

Militants also claimed responsibility for an attack on a school bus on Tuesday which killed five people, saying the children on the bus were from a pro-government tribe.

The Taliban are also holding more than 20 young men hostage from a pro-government tribe in an area straddling the Afghan border and have demanded the release of scores of prisoners and an end to support of military offensives against them.

Pakistani authorities have been encouraging the Pashtun tribes to revive traditional militias to counter the growing number of militants fighting the Pakistani state.

Under a centuries-old tradition, the tribes raise the militias, or lashkars, in their semi-autonomous regions to fight criminal gangs and enforce their tribal codes.