37 Islamic militants killed

Islamabad, September 4:

A clash and airstrikes killed 37 Islamic militants in Pakistan’s volatile northwest, officials

said today.

The Frontier Corps in North West Frontier Province said in a statement that 20 militants died in a heavy exchange of fire that erupted last night in the Darra Adam Khel area, south of Peshawar. There was no mention of military casualties.

It said troops were injured when militants fired rockets at a military checkpoint near the town of Tor Ghundai, and at a security forces camp in Khar.

An army spokesman said troops backed by warplanes killed another 17 militants in

an operation that began yesterday in Swat, another militant stronghold in a valley northeast of Peshawar.

Maj Nasir Ali said troops sweeping the valley’s Kuza Bandi area overran militants defending a walled compound where soldiers found a network of tunnels and bunkers.

He said the rebels put up “tough resistance” but killed no security forces. He declined to discuss any injuries among the troops. They were the latest incidents in an upsurge of violence ahead of Saturday’s vote by legislators to replace ex-President Pervez Musharraf.

Meanwhile, Taliban militants kidnapped 25 police recruits while they were travelling to a training centre in northwestern Pakistan, a senior police official said in Peshawar today.