Pakistan Military: 50 Militants Killed in Northwest

ISLAMABAD (RPRN_ 7/21/2009–Pakistan’s military says more than 50 militants have been killed in recent clashes in the restive northwest. Military officials say the fighting took place during a two-day search operation Sunday and Monday in Lower Dir district, in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.

Officials say many of those killed were militants who fled a military offensive in neighboring Swat Valley.

Three soldiers were also killed during the operation.

Pakistan’s military has been fighting Taliban militants throughout the country’s northwest in recent months.

The campaign originally focused on the Swat Valley and surrounding areas, but has recently shifted to tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

The military says 1,700 militants have been killed in the offensive, but reporters have had little access to the battle zone and have not been able to confirm the casualty figures.