Cross-Border Attack Kills 65 in Northwest Pakistan

Posted June 2nd, 2011 at 9:05 am (UTC-5)
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At least 65 people have been killed in a militant attack on a checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan along the Afghan border.

Police say the fighting, which began Wednesday and continued into Thursday, occurred in a remote village in Pakistan's Dir tribal area when about 200 militants crossed the border from Afghanistan's Kunar province.

Officials say the clashes killed at least 27 security personnel, three civilians and 35 militants.

It is not possible to independently verify the information because the region is largely off-limits to journalists.

The fighting comes as a top Pakistani army commander said the military has no plans to launch an offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik refuted media reports earlier this week that said the military was planning such an operation at the request of the United States. He said Pakistan will undertake that type of offensive when it is in the country's national interest.

The general also described the situation in North Waziristan as “calm, peaceful and stable.” He said he has more than 30,000 troops in the region and reported no change in the status of those forces in recent days.

Army officials have said Pakistani troops are stretched thin undertaking military operations in other areas.

Militants have launched a number of attacks against Pakistani security forces following the May 2 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.