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File photo/AP

PESHAWAR: The death toll in a gun-battle that had erupted between the proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its rival group Ansarul Islam (AI) in the Khyber tribal region had risen to at least 40.

The gun-fight had started late on Thursday in Maidan village in Khyber's Tirah Valley.

Arshad Khan, an official from the Khyber tribal region, told the Associated Press on Saturday that the clashes had started when the TTP had captured a base of the AI in the valley.

The AI had then tried to retake the base and that fighting was continuing.

Moreover, a military officer requesting anonymity said most of the dead were militants but some local tribesmen were also killed.

Khyber is among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border, rife with homegrown insurgents and home to religious extremist organisations including the Al Qaeda.

The remote Tirah valley holds strategic significance for militant groups. On one side, it shares a border with Afghanistan. On the other it leads to the plains of Bara, which connect the agency to the outskirts of Peshawar.

Khyber also links several agencies to each other, serving as a north-south route within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). The region has been long fought over by a mix of militant organisations, including the TTP, the AI and Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-i-Islam.

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Comments (6) Closed

Jan 26, 2013 05:29pm
May both sides continue at it till the last man and the last round.
M R Khawaja
Jan 26, 2013 05:46pm
Could some one help them to finish the job.Get the civilian out and carpet bomb the area.These animal do not deserve to live.
Jan 26, 2013 11:18pm
This armed struggle between two self-proclaimed flag-bearers of Islam shows how little they care about Islam, a religion of brotherhood, peace and tolerance, and how much they care about being in power.
Jan 26, 2013 08:00am
good few less..keep it up. Clean the mess from globe
Ali Shah
Jan 26, 2013 07:53am
Does anybody know exactly what is happening?
Jan 27, 2013 07:16pm
Good riddance