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Friday, June 23, 2006

Pakistanis hold Turkish, Afghan, militant suspects

QUETTA, Pakistan, June 23 (Reuters) - Pakistani authorities have detained five foreigners -- four Turks and an Afghan -- travelling to the Afghan border on suspicion of links to the al Qaeda militant network, security officials said.

Pakistan, an important ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, has arrested hundreds of al Qaeda members and supporters, including several leaders of the group responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

"They are all foreigners and might have links to al Qaeda," said an intelligence official in the southwestern city of Quetta.

The five were travelling on a bus and were detained at a checkpoint late on Thursday while on their way to the South Waziristan border region, said the official, who declined to be identified.

Pakistani forces have been battling foreign militants and their Pakistani allies in Waziristan for the past few years. Hundreds of people have been killed.

The five were being questioned, the officials said.
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