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Pakistan pounds Taliban commander's bases; 12 militants killed

PARACHINAR, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistani helicopter gunships have been bombarding several bases of a key Taliban commander in the country's northwest.

Intelligence officials say military helicopters have destroyed several bases and hideouts today. The attacks are targeting bases in tribal areas near the Afghan border.

They say at least 12 militants have been killed.

The assault comes as government forces ramp up the pressure following last week's reported death of Pakistan's Taliban chief in a CIA missile strike.

The fighting follows days of confusion and competing claims over the Pakistani Taliban leader's fate. While U.S. and Pakistani officials say they're almost certain he is dead, Taliban commanders insist he's alive.

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