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Pakistan Moves Troops From Tribal Areas to Border With India

"We hope that both sides will avoid taking steps that will unnecessarily raise tensions during these already tense times," said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

The Pakistani security official said the additional troops were deployed near the cities of Kasur and Sialkot in Punjab province as well as the Line of Control, the de facto border dividing Kashmir, a region that has been claimed by both countries since the bloody partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

The official said the troops were removed from areas where insurgents were inactive because of the snowy winter.

Pakistan's chief military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, could not be reached for comment on the reports.

Maulvi Omar, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, welcomed the government's decision to withdraw some troops from the tribal areas. "We will not attack the convoys of army withdrawing from tribal areas as it is a good development," he said, adding that the Taliban would help defend Pakistan against any aggression.

In Dera Ismail Khan, a Pakistani city near the tribal area of South Waziristan, residents said they saw dozens of military trucks moving from the frontier area on their way to the Indian border.

"I saw many trucks loaded with Pakistani soldiers moving from Waziristan early Friday morning," said Rahimullah, a shopkeeper in Dera Ismail Khan who was contacted by telephone. He said a soldier told him they were going to the Indian border.

Correspondent Rama Lakshmi in New Delhi contributed to this report.


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