M A I N   N E W S

Taliban men capture Pak fort, 50 killed

Islamabad, January 16
Hundreds of pro-Taliban militants stormed and overran a key Pakistani paramilitary fort in the restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan, killing at least seven soldiers while losing up to 50 of their own men, the Army said today.

Another 20 personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps were missing following the attack on the Sararogha fort in South Waziristan tribal agency by militants armed with rockets and automatic weapons. The insurgents blew up a wall of the fort before entering the structure, the army said.

About 400 militants attacked the Sararogha fort at midnight and later captured it, military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told reporters. He said 40 to 50 militants and seven Frontier Corps personnel were killed.

The fort, located about 80 kms from South Waziristan’s main town of Wana, was manned by 42 personnel. While 15 personnel managed to reach another Frontier Corps fort in Jandola, 20 others were missing.

The army said in a statement that the exact location of these 20 personnel “is not known”.

There was a heavy exchange of fire throughout the night and the militants were targeted with artillery from two locations, the statement said. The militants then “blew a wall of the fort using explosives late at night” and entered the structure. Local officials were quoted as saying that the Taliban had captured some of the security personnel in the fort but this was not confirmed by the army. Earlier reports had said that up to 30 paramilitary troops were feared killed in the attack.

Local authorities have convened a ‘jirga’ or council of tribal elders in Tank city to trace the missing soldiers.

The area is a stronghold of the Mehsud tribe and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commander Baitullah Mehsud, blamed by President Pervez Musharraf for masterminding a string of suicide attacks, including the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto. — PTI



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |