Pakistan raid on hospital kills Arab and Sudanese militants
Pakistan security forces raided a private hospital in South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold, killing Sudanese and Arab militants. Pakistan has long claimed that foreign militants fuel its insurgency.
Pakistani security forces on Thursday raided a private hospital in the tribal region of South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold, killing four foreign militants and a woman in a gunfight that lasted more than four hours. The Army’s action comes a day after the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack in the southern port city of Karachi on Dec. 28, which claimed 44 lives. Pakistan’s security forces and intelligence agencies have long claimed that foreign fighters form the backbone of the insurgency in the country.
According to the Pakistani daily Dawn, the slain foreign militants are of Arab and Sudanese origin.
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Troops laid siege to the Hafiz Hospital in Wana, which belonged to a former MNA [Member of the National Assembly]...
A security official said the raid followed a tip off that wounded militants were brought to the hospital from Sherwangi, a Taliban-dominated area where Pakistan has been pressing a major offensive.
“Commandos and security forces raided the hospital. Militants fired on the troops and in the gunfight, which lasted more than four hours, four militants and a woman were killed, while 27 others were arrested,” said the official.
Although Pakistani security officials claims that the 27 people arrested are suspected militants, the BBC reports that eyewitnesses say “those arrested included hospital staff and patients with no apparent links to the Taliban.”
The Pakistani authorities have long claimed that foreign fighters are central players in the Taliban insurgency in the country’s tribal region. Earlier this year, the Pakistani daily, The News, said there were 8,000 foreign fighters in the tribal belt.
Although officially the government of Pakistan accepts that foreign fighters are present, their unusually large number has set alarm bells ringing in Islamabad and possibly in other capitals as well….
According to the report presented to the [Pakistani prime minister], a majority of these foreign fighters are living in North and South Waziristan and Bajaur. Prime Minister Gilani has also been informed that some foreign intelligence agencies are pushing their agents into the Pakistani tribal areas from Afghanistan under the cover of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters. These under-cover agents are trying to instigate the local population to fight against Pakistani forces as part of a “great game” in the region.