PAKISTANI tribesmen backed, by the army have killed 300 foreign, al-Qaeda-linked militants in weeks of fighting in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, the president, Pervez Musharraf, said yesterday.
Tribesmen began battling the foreign militants they had previously sheltered in early March after the foreigners tried to kill a tribal leader.
"The people in South Waziristan have now risen against the foreigners. They have killed about 300 of them," Mr Musharraf told a military conference on counter-terrorism. "And they get support from the Pakistan army, they asked for support,"Mr Musharraf said, in a first public admission that troops were involved.
Government officials had previously said more than 200 people, most of them Uzbek militants, had been killed in the fighting. The military had said it was not involved. Many foreign militants fled to Pakistan after US-led forces ousted the Taleban in Afghanistan in 2001. Since then, many have been involved in fighting both Pakistani security forces and US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Mr Musharraf said he was pained by persistent questioning of Pakistan's commitment to the coalition against terrorism, and distrust of Pakistan's motives.
"If Pakistan is bluffing, if I am bluffing and the ISI is bluffing, I think we should be out of the coalition,"he said referring to the military spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.
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Talk Show America 4/13/2007
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