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Peshawar mayor survives bid on life for 5th time

Source: PTI
November 15, 2009 19:55 IST
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Pakistani troops on Sunday killed 17 militants and recovered 22 bodies of suspected Taliban fighters in the country's restive northwest and tribal areas, while an anti-Taliban mayor survived a fifth assassination bid in a town near Peshawar.

In a fresh spurt of violence in the northwestern Swat valley, security forces killed 12 militants and apprehended two more during search operations.

Meanwhile, in the lawless South Waziristan tribal region, five militants were killed during a clearance operation near the former Taliban stronghold of Sararogha, where troops conducted search operations and cleared several villages.

Troops also conducted search operations around the former militant bases of Kaniguram and Makeen and recovered arms, ammunition and improvised explosive devices.

Soldiers also carried out retaliatory action after militants targeted them with rockets near Wouchaba village.

Meanwhile, bodies of 22 suspected militants were found on Sunday in different parts of Swat and Buner districts, Geo News channel reported.

In village Badabair near Peshawar, dozens of armed attackers stormed the 'hujra' or guesthouse of a mayor, who has formed a local Lashkar to fight against the Taliban.

However, the attack was repulsed by his security guards who shot dead three burqa-clad militants.

The Union Council Nazim or mayor, Adezai Fahimuddin, said he and his supporters have been targeted and attacked with bombs on at least four previous occasions.

The police said more militants were involved in the attack, but they fled after Fahim's security guards opened fire.

He said the attackers were carrying Kalashnikovs, hand grenades and other weapons.

In a similar attack in the Bajaur region, militants killed a tribal elder opening fire at his house at midnight last. The elder was also involved in organising a local lashkar to battle the Taliban.

To support the military campaign currently being fought by 30,000 troops, the government has helped tribal leaders and local government officials to set up militias or Lashkars to take on the Taliban.

Meanwhile in the northwest, 14 bodies were found near Charbagh, a former militant stronghold, while eight more were found along the boundary between Swat and Buner districts, Geo channel reported.

The army says it is winding down an operation against the Taliban in Swat and there have been few major clashes in the region in the past few weeks.

The Pakistani military says over 545 militants and more than 60 soldiers have died so far in fighting in South Waziristan though these figures cannot be independently verified as reporters have no access to the conflict zone.

The army has mobilised over 30,000 troops for Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation), which was launched nearly a month ago to flush out an estimated 10,000 Taliban and foreign fighters from South Waziristan.
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