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Latest Taliban infighting kills 8 more

Latest Taliban infighting kills 8 more

taliban-0-600x330Eight militants were killed Sunday in the latest clashes between the Pakistani Taliban and a breakaway faction in the country’s restive northwest on Sunday, officials said.

The fighting erupted in the Wacha Mela area 65 kilometres (40 miles) west of Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan tribal district.

A total of 106 militants have been killed since supporters of commander Khalid Mehsud, alias Khan Said Sajna, began battling followers of the slain former Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud in April.

Khalid Mehsud’s group last month split from the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a move which analysts described as a victory for the Pakistani military’s strategy of sowing divisions between insurgent factions.

The latest fighting left eight militants dead and three wounded, a local intelligence official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“Six of the dead militants belonged to the Hakimullah group,” he said.

Another security official and a militant source confirmed the fighting and casualties.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government began negotiations with the TTP through intermediaries in February, with a ceasefire beginning March 1 but breaking down a month later.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for an all-night siege of Karachi airport a week ago that killed 38 people including 10 attackers, and all but destroyed the peace process.

North Waziristan is one of the seven rugged semi-autonomous tribal areas along the Afghan border.

Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives in the past decade.

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