Several killed in fighting in NW Pakistan

Sept. 3, 2008 at 6:54 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Coalition forces from Afghanistan staged a search operation Wednesday in Pakistan's tribal area, resulting in the deaths of several people, witnesses said.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the incident but Geo TV reported the operations were conducted early Wednesday in Angorada in South Waziristan. It said the operation began after four helicopters carrying the coalition forces landed in Angorada.

The report said 15 people died, including nine members of the family of local tribesman Taj Muhammad. Several people were injured in the operation and local tribesmen chanted anti-American slogans after the incident, the report said.

Separately, the BBC quoted witnesses as saying NATO troops in three helicopters landed early Wednesday in an area close to the border with Afghanistan. The report said many in the area were awake at the time because of Ramadan fasting month.

One Indian television channel headlined the reported incident as "U.S. launches ground attack in Pakistan." It went on to say the region is the known sanctuary of al-Qaida leaders.

Pakistan's northwest tribal areas near the Afghan border have been the scene of intense fighting in recent months between Pakistani security forces and Taliban militants.

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