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Pakistan Says Tribal Region Town Recaptured From Taliban

Soldiers at an Afghan-Pakistani border crossing in North Waziristan (file photo) (epa) PESHAWAR, Pakistan; March 7, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Pakistani military spokesman Shaukat Sultan says government security forces have recaptured the main town in the tribal region of North Waziristan from Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

"From the incident at Miran Shah, the terrorists have fled," he said.

Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters seized the town -- which is about 16 kilometers from the border with Afghanistan -- during a fierce battle against Pakistani government forces that began last week.

Residents who have fled Miran Shah and the nearby village of Mir Ali told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan correspondents today that Taliban fighters still control strategic positions in the mountains nearby.

Sporadic fighting was reported in the mountain near Miran Shah today with government forces using air strikes from fighter jets and helicopter gunships.

Sekander Qauim, Pakistan's secretary for the tribal areas, says he can confirm that at least 146 people have been killed since the fighting began on March 1. Officials in Islamabad say about 100 of the dead are militants.

Thousands of residents have fled to Peshawar or to Khost in neighboring Afghanistan to escape the fighting.

(Radio Free Afghanistan correspondents in Peshawar and Khost; RFE/RL in Prague)

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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