Monday, June 30, 2008

Explosion at militant compound in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A powerful explosion destroyed a militant compound and killed up to eight people Monday in a volatile tribal region where Pakistan security forces are waging an offensive against pro-Taliban militants, residents said.

Residents said the blast in the Khyber tribal area hit a compound owned by a supporter of Haji Namdar, a local militant leader whose Vice and Virtue Movement is suspected of cross-border assaults. Villager Nawaz Khan Afridi said he saw eight bodies.

The political administration of the Khyber tribal area said at least five people were killed and three were injured during an explosion, but that its security forces had not fired on the damaged building.

Pakistani paramilitary forces launched an offensive in the region three days ago against militants threatening the main northwestern city of Peshawar and a key supply line for the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani show of force comes amid U.S. concern that the newly elected government's efforts to negotiate peace deals with militants have given Taliban and al-Qaida-linked extremists more space to operate along the lawless border.........

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