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Old 03-14-2010, 07:05 AM
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Default Pakistani jets pound Taliban hide-outs

AP


PARACHINAR, Pakistan Pakistani fighter jets pounded a series of Taliban hide-outs near the Afghan border Sunday, killing nine insurgents, a local official said.

The hide-outs were in the village of Mero Bak in the Taliban stronghold of the Lower Orakzai tribal region, said Rasheed Khan, an Orakzai official. One of the bombed houses belonged to a local Taliban commander, Aslam Farooqi, but it was not clear if he was among those killed.

Orakzai is the base of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who officials believe was killed in a U.S. missile strike early this year. The group insists he is alive, but has not provided any evidence to back up its claims.

Violence has surged in Pakistan in recent days as militants thought to be part of a loose network of Islamist insurgents fighting the U.S.-allied Islamabad government launched a wave of suicide bombings. The attacks have killed 88 people in a little over a week.

On Saturday, a suicide bomber killed 13 people at a security checkpoint in the Swat Valley in northwestern Pakistan.

Elsewhere in Pakistan, suspected militants tried to blow up a NATO oil tanker Sunday in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, near the Afghan border, police official Zia Mandokhel said.

A bomb, planted in the truck's undercarriage, misfired, causing just a hole in the tanker and an oil spill, he said. One person, a civilian, was injured.

The incident occurred in the border town of Chaman along an important route for NATO supplies heading into Afghanistan.

Militants regularly target trucks taking supplies to U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan.
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