February 9, 2009 / 1:08 PM / 9 years ago

Nine children among 13 killed in Pakistan fighting

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - At least 13 people, nine of them children, were killed in northwestern Pakistan on Monday when two mortar bombs hit a house during a battle between security forces and Taliban militants, the military and residents said.

The clash erupted when militants attacked two security posts in the Darra Adam Khel region, killing one soldier and wounding another.

"During the attack, the miscreants also fired two mortar bombs which hit a house in the bazaar of Darra Adam Kheil and there have been some civilian casualties," said Lieutenant-Colonel Nadeem Anwar, a Peshawar military spokesman.

The military's information department later said 13 civilians were killed.

Saeed-ur-Rehman, a resident, said nine children were among the dead and that angry people had blocked the main road leading to Peshawar to protest against the killing.

"The bodies are lying on the road and people are protesting," Rehman told Reuters by telephone.

Militants have become active in the Darra Adam Khel region, to the south of Peshawar, over the past two years although it is not on the Afghan border, where militants have strongholds.

A spokesman for Taliban operating in the region claimed responsibility on Saturday for killing a Polish engineer who was kidnapped near the town of Attock, about 65 km (40 miles) west of the capital, Islamabad, in September.

The militants released a video tape of them cutting off geologist Piotr Stanczak's head.

The footage showed a black banner strung up on a wall reading "Tehrik-e-Taliban (Taliban movement) Darra Adam Kheil" behind Stanczak as he spoke before he was killed.

Reporting by Zeeshan Haider and Alamgir Bitani; Editing by Robert Birsel and Paul Tait

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