NATO troops build up on Pak border with Afghan

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Islamabad, Jul 16: Reports of a build-up of US-led forces in eastern Afghan provinces along the border with North and South Waziristan tribal regions have raised fears of a possible encounter in the area with the Taliban.

Local people said the troops, backed by helicopter gunships, tanks and armoured personnel carriers, had been moved close to the border villages of Lawara, Mir Saffar, Shawal, Zhawar and Ghulam Khan in Waziristan regions bordering Afghanistan. However, a Pakistani military spokesman denied there was any unusual troop movement along the border. He said that Nato forces might be gathering for an operation on the Afghan side. "There may be some operational movement of these forces in Afghanistan," a foreign news agency reported.

According to reports reaching here from across the border, the allied forces were being airlifted to the Saro Bagh area of Afghanistan's Khost province, Dawn newspaper said on Wednesday July 16.

They have started building bunkers and fortifying their positions in the border areas for a possible showdown with the militants.

Sources said helicopters had increased surveillance flights and APCs and tanks were stationed in different areas to provide cover to troops.

Officials said security had been beefed up in Pakistan's tribal areas and troops had been asked to remain alert to meet any eventuality.

Meanwhile, tribal elders have warned that the US-led forces will get a befitting response if they tried to cross into the tribal areas.


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