Pakistani forces clash with Taliban

At least eight government soldiers and 30 Taliban killed in battle for control of strategic mountaintop in northeast.

    Troops and Taliban have battled repeatedly after the government launched an offensive to clear Kurram [Reuters]

    Fighting between government soldiers and Taliban fighters over a strategic mountaintop in northwestern Pakistan has killed more than 38 people, a government official says.

    The battle first started a week ago when government troops seized the top of Jogi mountain in the Kurram tribal area from the Taliban, sparking deadly clashes.

    The fighters' retaliated by attacking the soldiers holding the post on Tuesday. The attack left 30 Taliban and eight Pakistani soldiers dead, according to the official.

    Helicopter gunships were mobilised after "more than 300 Taliban attacked" the checkpost at around midnight, a senior military official told AFP news agency.

    The area is home to fighters loyal to Pakistani Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud.

    The military launched an offensive in Kurram in July 2011 and declared victory about a month later, but violence has continued.

    A similar process has taken place throughout Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal region along the Afghan border. The military has launched a series of operations against the Pakistani Taliban in the past few years, and has often declared victory only to see fighting flare up again.

    Drone attacks

    The tribal areas have also been targeted by US unmanned drones in an attempt to dismantle sanctuaries for al-Qaeda affiliated groups such as the Taliban.

    On Monday, the US president, in a rare public acknowledgement, confirmed that the drones have regularly struck tribal areas.

    Barack Obama said “a lot” of the strikes had targeted "al-Qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain” in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), along the border with Afghanistan, long believed to be a hub of activity for armed groups.

    "For us to be able to get them in another way would involve probably a lot more intrusive military action than the ones we're already engaging in," the president said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.