Pakistan kills Uighur independence fighter

Pakistan's military has confirmed that it had killed a Muslim resistance figue recently identified by China as its top "terrorist" in a recent firefight.

    Pakistan has clamped down on armed Islamic groups

    "Yes, this man was killed in the Pakistan army's operation on 2 October," Major General Shaukat Sultan told AFP on Tuesday, referring to Hasan Mahsum. 

    China's Beijing News reported on Tuesday that Hasan Mahsum had been killed in an operation conducted by US and Pakistani forces. 

    But Sultan said no US forces were present. "This operation was conducted purely by the Pakistan army and no American troops or personnel were involved in it," the military spokesman said. 

    Sultan said Hasan Mahsum was among the eight people killed when Pakistan army commandos besieged a suspected al-Qaida hideout in mud-walled tribal homes in the South Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan

    Two Pakistani troops were also killed and two wounded in the day-long gunfight at Angoor Adda, five kilometres from the Afghan border, he said. Another 18 people were arrested. 

    Restive Xinjiang

    Mahsum operated on Afghanistan
     -Pakistan border

    China last week placed Hasan Mahsum, a former resident of its northwestern Xinjiang region, on the top of its first ever list of "terrorists". The list contained the names of 11 ethnic Uighur Muslim separatists from Xinjiang. 

    It identified Hasan Mahsum, 39, as a leader in the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). 

    It claimed the individuals and groups had plotted and carried
    out violent activities in China to try to set up an independent
    state of East Turkistan in the Uighur-populated Xinjiang region. 

    Beijing requested foreign assistance in arresting the individuals and shutting down the groups. The Beijing News said on Tuesday that Hasan Mahsum had been operating on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

    Mahsum was accused of planning a bombing in 1995 and fled from China to Afghanistan in 1997. 


    Last year the United States added ETIM to its list of "terrorist
    groups" and announced it would freeze the assets of ETIM members, a move seen as a pay-off for Chinese support for the US "war against terrorism". 

    Shortly afterwards China received another boost when the United Nations added ETIM to its list of "terrorist organisations". 

    The Chinese government claimed in its list that ETIM had
    received several million dollars in funding from Usama bin Ladin.

    China said the ETIM had also established bases outside China,
    including in Afghanistan.



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