We killed 50 foreign militants at training camp, says Pakistan

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The Independent Online
Pakistani jets launch attack on suspected militants near Afghan border, 50 killed

Pakistani jets killed 50 people as they pounded a suspected training facility for foreign militants today in tribal South Waziristan, senior intelligence and military officials said.

Pakistani jets launch attack on suspected militants near Afghan border, 50 killed

Pakistani jets killed 50 people as they pounded a suspected training facility for foreign militants today in tribal South Waziristan, senior intelligence and military officials said.

The military said the camp was located near Dila Khula, a South Waziristan village about 15 miles northeast of the region's main town, Wana.

"There were confirmed reports of training activity being conducted by foreign elements including Uzbeks, Chechens and a few Arabs," the military said in a statement. "These trained terrorists were indulging in sabotage and terrorist acts in the country."

Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan told the private ARY television channel that 50 people were killed and 90 per cent of them were foreigners. The camp was totally destroyed in a two-hour barrage and all the people there were believed killed.

He said the men had been involved in terrorist acts inside Pakistan, but gave no details. They were not connected to suspected Chechen and Arab militants who took hundreds hostage at a school in southern Russia last week.

"We came to know about this camp after investigations into recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan," he said.

Another senior military official said all the dead were killed in airstrikes.

"Troops have now moved into the area. They have started a search and found 50 bodies," he told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

A large number of Central Asian and Arab militants are believed to be living in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Many came to fight alongside US-backed Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and some never left.

Pakistan has overstated the scope of its military operations in the past, claiming to have captured or killed foreigners that turn out to be local tribesmen, or to have zeroed in on top al-Qa'ida men who never materialize.

Alam Khan, a resident of Ladha, a village near Khunkhela, told The Associated Press that three other nearby villages were also hit in the operation. He said he saw at least two jets and about 10 army helicopters flying over the scene during the fighting, which lasted about two hours.

Pakistan's army has launched frequent attacks in North and South Waziristan to flush out Islamic militants. The area is considered a possible hideout for Osama bin Laden.

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