Taliban vow to avenge US airstrike in Mohmand

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Islamabad, Jun 13 (UNI) Taliban militants have pledged to take revenge for the US airstrike that destroyed a Pakistani army post near the Afghan border and killed 11 paramilitary troops this week, reported a private TV channel.

''We have the right to defend our country. Any aggression by NATO forces inside Pakistan will be responded with full force,'' said Dr Asad, a spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

The Pakistani border post came under fire in Mohmand Agency when US planes targeted Taliban fighters fleeing after an attack on Afghan and NATO forces late Tuesday. Eleven troops from paramilitary Frontier Corps were killed and 13 more were injured.

According to Taliban's claim, eight of their comrades also died in the airstrike that was strongly condemned by Pakistani officials.

The US Defence Department called the airstrike near the border a legitimate act of self-defence.

''US forces, operating on the border of Pakistan in Afghanistan territory, came under attack from hostile forces and, in self-defence they called in an airstrike, which took out those forces that were attacking them,'' Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

Owais Ghani, governor of the North West Frontier Province that borders Afghanistan, warned that Pakistan would be left ''with no choice but to review (its) policy on war on terror if such attacks continue in future.'' Meanwhile, local media reported yesterday that US planes bombed some tribal areas for the second straight night on Wednesday.

No casualties were reported in the bombing on Zeba Mountain in South Waziristan by two US planes. The continuing strikes and violation of Pakistani airspace have drawn heavy criticism in the country.

Hundreds of people from Mosakhel and Safi tribes in Mohmand Agency said they would raise an army of local fighters to defend the border.

''Our forces did not give a timely response to NATO attack on our soil, so we are compelled to organise an army of our own fighters to defend our borders,'' a private news channel quoted a tribal elder as saying.

UNI XC PD Mir CS1552

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