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World Briefing | PAKISTAN

Militants capture western town

June 24, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Pakistani militants loyal to Taliban commander Baitullah Mahsud captured a town at the entrance to the South Waziristan tribal region after a battle with pro-government tribesmen, police said.

At least four tribesmen and two militants were killed in the fighting for control of Jandola, they said.

"The Taliban [fighters] have taken over Jandola" and are holding seven tribesmen hostage, said the area's police chief, Barkat Ullah.

A Taliban spokesman said nine people, including seven tribesmen, had been killed and the Taliban had abducted 10 pro-government fighters.

Mahsud, who has close links to Al Qaeda, is accused of being behind a wave of suicide attacks, including one that killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December.

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