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Pakistan

70 killed as warlord's forces battle Taliban

August 13, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Fierce clashes between Taliban fighters and those loyal to a pro-government warlord killed at least 70 people, intelligence officials said.

The battles pitched Taliban militants against followers of tribal warlord Turkistan Bitani on the fringes of the South Waziristan border region, where U.S. and Pakistani officials believe Taliban chief Baitullah Mahsud died in a missile strike Aug. 5.

Pakistan's army sent in helicopter gunships as reinforcements to pound about 300 Taliban fighters attacking Bitani's mountain stronghold, two intelligence officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

They said wireless intercepts from the region showed that at least 70 people, including one woman in the village, were killed.

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