Pakistani Forces Kill 15-20 Suspected Militants Near Afghan Border

Pakistani security forces destroyed a militant hideout during a pre-dawn strike near the Afghan border on Saturday, killing 15 to 20 suspected militants, Pakistan's military said.

The attack was launched in Drub Lokai, a town in the North Waziristan tribal region where foreign militants and their local supporters are believed to be hiding, the military said in a brief statement.

The statement gave no further details about the slain men, only adding that the targeted "miscreants" were behind recent attacks on security forces.


The military uses the term miscreants to describe remnants of Taliban, Al Qaeda and their local supporters.

Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, the army spokesman also only said that the operation was "successful" but he shared no further details about the identity or nationality or the slain men.

However, an area security official said some foreigners were among the militants killed. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media, said the suspects were hiding in a home when the army's helicopter gunships launched the strike.

"It was a swift operation. Now ground forces are doing their job," he said.

Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, has deployed about 80,000 troops in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to flush out foreign militants and their local supporters.

Although scores of militants have been killed during army operations in North and South Waziristan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, authorities say an unspecified number of suspects are still hiding there.