September 1st, 2008 07:35 EST
Ramadan will not halt Taliban attacks
A Taliban spokesman in Pakistan says Taliban leaders have not instructed fighters to halt attacks during Ramadan, despite the government`s announcement that it is suspending military operations in the northwest to allow civilians to observe the holy month.
A Taliban spokesman in restive Swat Valley, Muslim Khan, Sunday said, as of now, militants have no plans to change their tactics.
The head of Pakistan`s Interior Ministry, Rehman Malik, announced Saturday that there will be no military operations in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan from Sunday midnight until October second. He warned, however, that security forces will respond if attacked.
In other news, another Pakistan Taliban spokesman, Maulvi Omar, said the militants will release six of the 30 paramilitary troops they are holding as a gesture of goodwill.
In violence Sunday, sources in northwest Pakistan report at least 60 people have been killed in fresh clashes in Kurram Agency between warring tribes and Taliban militants.
Pakistani media quote unnamed sources as saying at least three-quarters of the dead are militants. Another 130 people are reported to have been wounded in the fighting near the border with Afghanistan.
Rival Bangush and Turi tribes have been battling for weeks, and militants have joined that fight.
In another development, security officials in northwest Pakistan say at least five people were killed in an apparent missile strike along the Afghan border. They say most, if not all, of the dead are foreign militants, including Uzbeks.
Residents in the village of Tapi in North Waziristan say an apparent missile Sunday destroyed a house that was believed to be linked to militants. They say they saw a drone (a pilotless aircraft) shortly before the explosion.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the blast. But the United States has used pilotless drone aircraft to target militants along Pakistan`s border with Afghanistan in the past.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.