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Pakistan Frees 78 Pashtuns

1 May 2004 -- Pakistani authorities have released 78 Pashtuns they arrested two months ago in an action against Al-Qaeda militants and their local allies near the Afghan border.

Twenty-four people remain in custody. A Pakistani regional security chief said the government has no plans to free them.

Authorities also extended by one week a deadline for foreign militants hiding in the region to surrender. Yesterday was the original deadline, but by the end of the day there had been no response.

In March, more than 120 people died after clashes between Pakistani security forces and suspected Al-Qaeda fighters and supporters in the semi-autonomous region of South Waziristan.