Military: Key militant stronghold taken

Nov. 2, 2009 at 11:59 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The Pakistani military says its forces have taken control of Kaniguram, a key militant stronghold, in their counterinsurgency in South Waziristan.

Kaniguram was described as a redoubt of Uzbek fighters, reported to be among the foreign militants ensconced in the tribal region. South Waziristan is also the stronghold of the Taliban, al-Qaida and other terror groups against whom the current counterinsurgency is directed.

Pakistani military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told reporters there were fortified positions and bunkers in the Kaniguram area that were being used by militants equipped with modern weaponry, Dawn newspaper reported.

He said the entire area had been cleared of mines and improvised explosive devices and security forces seized five truckloads of arms and ammunition from the area Monday.

Abbas said security forces also were in control of Karama, a village east of Kaniguram which was once a stronghold of Uzbek militants.

The militants have retaliated against the military offensive in South Waziristan with a wave of deadly attacks in major Pakistan cities.

A suicide bomb attack Monday in Rawalpindi, the country's military headquarters city near Islamabad, killed at least 35 people. A car bomb attack in a busy market area in Peshawar killed more than 100 people Oct. 28.

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