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Five Dead in Indian Kashmir Gun Battle

Four suspected rebels and a soldier were killed early Thursday in Indian Kashmir in a gun battle near the de facto border with Pakistan, the second incident in 24 hours, a police officer said.

Police sealed off a forested area in northern Handwara overnight on suspicion militants were moving towards a village, triggering a 10-hour gun battle between government forces and rebels.

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Afghan Taliban Confirm Leader Mullah Omar's Death

The Taliban on Thursday confirmed the death of their leader Mullah Omar but gave no word about who would take charge of the movement still waging a bloody insurgency in Afghanistan.

The militants said Omar died of "sickness", citing family members, a day after the Afghan government said the one-eyed warrior-cleric had passed away in Pakistan two years ago.

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At least Three Killed as 5.1-Quake Rocks Pakistan

At least three people were killed when a 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck northern Pakistan early Saturday, officials said.

The United States Geological Survey said the tremor struck at a relatively shallow depth of 26 kilometers with its epicenter located 15 kilometers (nine miles) to the northeast of Islamabad.

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Afghan Taliban Leader Hails 'Legitimate' Peace Talks

Taliban leader Mullah Omar Wednesday hailed as "legitimate" peace talks aimed at ending Afghanistan's 13-year war, in his first comments on the nascent dialogue, easing concerns that it lacked the leadership's backing.

Afghan officials sat down with Taliban cadres last week in Murree, a tourist town in the hills north of Islamabad, Pakistan, for their first face-to-face talks aimed at ending the bloody insurgency.

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Doubts and Divisions among Commanders as Taliban Talk Peace

Talks last week between Afghan and Taliban negotiators were hailed by officials as a major breakthrough, but insurgent commanders on the ground have responded far more skeptically, highlighting the huge challenges facing the embryonic peace process.

Members of the Afghan High Peace Council sat down with Taliban cadres last week in Murree, a tourist town in the hills north of Islamabad, for their first official talks to try to end the militants' bloody fight, now in its 14th year.

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Pakistan Hangs Three Separatists for 1998 Plane Hijacking

Pakistan on Thursday executed three Baluch separatists convicted of hijacking a plane in 1998, which they attempted to fly to India to disrupt Islamabad's first nuclear tests, officials said.

The executions were carried out on the 17th anniversary of the tests, which made Pakistan the world's seventh nuclear-armed power -- a landmark event for the impoverished Muslim country of 200 million people.

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Six Die in Indian Kashmir Militant Attack

Two suspected rebels stormed a police station in Indian Kashmir on Friday, killing three officers and a civilian before being shot dead by government forces, police said.

The heavily armed militants hijacked a private jeep and killed the driver before lobbing grenades into the station, triggering a gun battle with government forces, inspector general of police for the region Danish Rana told Agence France Presse.

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Reuters Pakistan Bureau Chief Dies in Islamabad

The Pakistan and Afghanistan bureau chief for Reuters news agency died on Monday after collapsing in the office in Islamabad, the company said.

Maria Golovnina, 34, was rushed to hospital in the Pakistani capital but doctors were unable to save her, Reuters said in a statement.

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Attack on Shiite Mosque Kills Two in Islamabad

At least three people were killed and two others injured in an attack on a Shiite mosque in Islamabad Wednesday, officials said, in a rare attack in the usually calm Pakistani capital.

A lone suicide bomber blew himself up after he was confronted by a mosque security guard as he tried to enter the complex during evening prayers, officials said.

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Fresh India-Pakistan Border Clashes Kill Five

Indian and Pakistani troops traded fire along their tense border on Monday, killing four civilians including a teenage boy and a soldier in the latest in a series of deadly clashes, officials said.

Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors escalated last week when an Indian border guard and two Pakistani paramilitary soldiers were killed during exchanges of heavy fire.

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