Pakistani troops kill al-Qaida suspect

Pakistani troops have shot dead an al-Qaida suspect and captured three foreign fighters who tried to sneak into a northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

    The Pakistan-Afghan border has witnessed frequent clashes

    The military said t

    roops at a border checkpoint intercepted a pick-up truck on Thursday as it

    entered the Pakistani tribal territory of North Waziristan from

    Afghanistan.

    Military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said a

    n occupant of the truck hurled a grenade at the troops.

    The soldiers opened fire and killed the man, Sultan said.

    "This fellow lobbed a grenade but the people (at the post) were

    safe," he said.

    "He is a foreigner, his body has been taken to the hospital ... a

    t another place in the same area we have captured three

    others. All are foreigners."

    New checkposts

    No further details were immediately available.

    A paramilitary Frontier Corps officer at the Dambdail checkpost,

    speaking on condition of anonymity, said the foreigners

    appeared to be from

    Turkmenistan. 

    There is a lot of  support for the
    Taliban in North Waziristan

    Pakistani troops have stepped up their vigilance at the border amid

    reports that fighters were sheltering in the mountainous terrain after attacks on Afghan and

    US-led occupation forces fighters

    .

    Residents in the nearby South Waziristan area said troops

    recently took up position on hills overlooking roads and set up new

    checkposts amid fears of a fresh military offensive to flush out fighters

    .

    Pressure tactics

    The Pakistani army launched its fiercest operation in March when

    at least 46 troops were killed in a 12-day siege-and-search

    operation.

    However, the Pakistan government later changed its strategy and agreed to seek a

    political solution to the problem.

    Under a deal brokered by tribal elders in April, the government

    allowed an estimated 500 foreigners to stay in the rugged terrain

    bordering Afghanistan if they denounced "militancy" and registered

    with the authorities.

    But despite the expiry of several deadlines, none has

    registered.

    In a bid to increase pressure on local tribes to hand over foreign fighters believed to be hiding in the area, Pakistani troops last week erected road blocks and shut down thousands of

    shops in the markets of the main tribal town of Wana

    .

    SOURCE: AFP


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