'Fighters killed' in Pakistan raid

Officials say at least 17 fighters killed in air and mortar attacks in border areas.

     

    There was no way to independently verify the tolls.

    Thousands displaced

    Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said that almost 190,000 people have been displaced from the Bajaur region since fighting began there last month.

    "This number includes over 168,000 Pakistanis now sheltering in their country's North West Frontier Province and another 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans who fled into eastern Afghanistan," Ron Redmond, a UNHCR spokesman, said.

    He said that due to "security reasons", the agency did not have access to areas on both sides of the border where most of the  displaced were staying with families.
      
    Pakistan said in late September that the fighting in Bajaur was some of the heaviest since Pakistan joined the US-led "war on terror" in 2001.
      
    It said it had killed 1,000 fighters, including al-Qaeda's operational commander in the region, Abu Saeed Al-Masri, since early August.

    'US national' held
      
    In other news, Pakistani police questioned on Tuesday a man they said was a US national arrested near the Afghan border.
      
    The man was dressed as a local and had no travel documents, police said.

    "Officers arrested a young American national as he was entering the Mohmand tribal region on Monday evening," Khurshid Khan, local policeman, told the AFP.
      
    "The bearded man was aged 20-25 and wore a traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez. He said he was visiting a friend."
      
    Police said he told them that he was an American from Florida.
      
    He was taken to Peshawar for questioning as foreigners are required to have a special permit to enter the tribal belt.
      
    A spokesman for the US embassy said he was unable to confirm reports of the arrest.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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