Taliban bodies are 'returned to Pakistan for burial'

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The bodies of nine Taliban fighters, who slipped over the border and attacked a Nato convoy in Afghanistan, have been returned to Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area for burial.

They were part of a 50-member group of fighters loyal to militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

Many vehicles were torched in the attack on the convoy in Afghanistan's Khost province two weeeks ago.

But the fighters were killed in a Nato air raid that followed the attack.

Residents in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, told the BBC that the dead fighters were between 15 and 25 years old and were from the area.

They said the bodies were badly charred and barely identifiable.

Locals added that the bodies of six more Taliban fighters killed in the same attack are still to be brought to North Waziristan.

North Waziristan has for several years been seen by Nato as a base for Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, from which attacks against Nato forces in Afghanistan are launched.

The area is also home to Haqqani network and several other collaborating groups, including the faction led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

Correspondents say that while the army has fought militants across many of the tribal regions, it has so far not bowed to intense US pressure to take concerted action against the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani militant network in North Waziristan.

The Haqqani network is also believed to collaborate closely with another militant group led by Mullah Nazir in neighbouring South Waziristan.

Hundreds of fighters have so far been killed in such attacks.

Last year about 40 bodies of fighters loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur were brought to North Waziristan from the Afghan province of Paktika where they were killed in a clash.

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