... So that You may be kept informed

ASIA: 17 dead in new Pakistan bombing of Taliban hideouts

07 Nov 2008 2:02 AM

KHAR, Pakistan, Nov 6 AFP - At least 17 people were killed Thursday whenPakistani jets pounded suspected hideouts of Taliban militants in the northwestern tribal region of Bajaur near the Afghan border, officials said.

The raids came a day after local administrators said Pakistani aircraft bombarded several areas in Bajaur, killing 15 extremists.

The latest bombings targeted the towns of Mamoon and Nawagai in the region where Pakistani forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

"At least 17 deaths have been confirmed so far," local police official Fazle Rabbi told AFP, updating the earlier toll of 14. The jets also targeted militant strongholds of Damadola and Sewai, he said.

Security officials in the area confirmed the bombing, saying the aircraft targeted militant hideouts.

The police official said the number of casualties may rise.

The bombing coincided with a suicide attack on a government-backed tribal force in the region which killed 11 people and wounded more than 40.

The suicide bomber detonated his explosives when members of the group gathered for a meeting after destroying houses allegedly belonging to Taliban loyalists.

The Pakistani military said last month that around 1,500 rebels and 73 soldiers had died while hundreds more militants were captured since the military launched an operation in the lawless region in August.

Pakistan's tribal belt became a safe haven for hundreds of al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists who fled the US-led toppling of Afghanistan's hardline Taliban regime in late 2001 and have since set up training camps.

AFP jnb=0A