180 Dead in Pakistan Fighting

The major battles this past weekend were fought in Pakistan and not in Iraq.

Children who were injured during fierce fighting between militants and security forces are treated at a local hospital in Bannu, near Peshawar, Pakistan on Monday, Oct 8, 2007. Up to 50 Pakistani troops were missing amid fierce fighting Monday with pro-Taliban militants near the Afghan border that has already left scores dead, the army said. (AP Photo / Ijaz Ahmed)

The Daily Times reported:

MIRANSHAH/PESHAWAR: Fifty troops and 130 pro-Taliban and Al Qaeda militants have been killed in fierce fighting in North Waziristan since Saturday, officials and local residents said.

Twenty soldiers and 65 militants were reported killed in clashes on Sunday, after militants attacked two military convoys near Mir Ali.

Security sources told Daily Times that the bodies of 31 soldiers had been airlifted from Mir Ali to Bannu, and 19 more bodies were awaiting removal from the military camp in Mir Ali. They said 50 wounded soldiers had also been airlifted to the Bannu Combined Military Hospital. However, military spokesman Maj General Waheed Arshad said that 45 soldiers had been killed in clashes since Saturday.

Pro-Taliban cleric Maulvi Deen Dar arranged the transfer of the soldiers’ bodies through a local jirga after the militants agreed to allow local residents to hand them over to military authorities in Mir Ali.

Earlier, Gen Arshad said around 50 soldiers had gone missing in the Mir Ali area and they were feared kidnapped or killed. He later told AFP that contact had been established with most of the soldiers and only 10 or 12 had not been accounted for, but it was not clear if any of those had been killed.

Air strikes: He said more air strikes were carried out on Monday against targets around Mir Ali town, east of Miranshah. “We used the air force in areas where ground troops cannot be used,” he said.

This was the first time the military used jet fighters in the area since 2004. Local residents saw two bombers fly over Mir Ali at around 1:00pm on Monday. They reappeared soon after sunset and dropped bombs.

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