Anti-Taliban group kills 13 militants in Pakistan

AP , Saturday 23 Jul 2011

Pakistani militia formed recently by tribesmen killed 13 militants in clashes in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border

An anti-Taliban militia killed 13 militants in clashes in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border, a government official said Saturday.

Several militiamen and insurgents were also wounded in the gunbattles Friday and Saturday in the Kurram tribal region, said local administrator Noor Alam Khan.

Encouraged by Islamabad, tribesmen recently formed the militia to kill or evict Taliban militants and their supporters from the region. They have killed 25 insurgents in clashes this week.

The Pakistani military has also carried out several offensives against Taliban who are hiding in the area after escaping last year's offensive in the nearby Orakzai tribal region.

The Pakistani Taliban have links to the insurgent movement fighting foreign forces and their local allies in neighboring Afghanistan but separate goals. They are a sworn enemy of Pakistan and are focused on destabilizing the country's U.S.-allied government through violence in urban and other areas.

Also Saturday, gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot and killed five laborers at a construction site for a mosque in southwestern Pakistan, a government official said.

The slain men were from the eastern Punjab province and were not ethnic Baluchis. The motive behind the attack was unclear, said regional government official Mohammed Aslam. But nationalist groups waging a low-level insurgency in Baluchistan province for greater autonomy have been blamed for such killings in the past.

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