Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kayani visits SWAT

Two militants and as many villagers were killed in a clash between Taliban fighters and residents in the Kalam Valley of Swat while the military claimed killing ìa number of terrorists, including a commanderî during the last 24 hours.

Security forces have retaken this town, also the district headquarters, during the current operation.

The Army chief met the commanders and troops taking part in the operation and reviewed progress made in military foray into Buner. In Swat, security forces continued operation against the Maulana Fazlullah-led militants in Peuchar, Kanju, Takhtaband, Barikot and Odigram.

A few militants were killed and three soldiers were injured during clashes in the area. Gunfire was still taking place between the troops and militants. Security forces have secured the area up to Shahid Khapa.

The Taliban sources insisted that Muslim Khan was alive. Seven suspected militants were also arrested on Thursday.

Fierce fighting took place in Kanju and Takhtaband in which, the ISPR said, a number of militants were killed while five soldiers were also killed and four others were injured. Security forces were strengthening their positions around Takhtaband Bridge in Barikot, Gokdara and Odigram areas of the valley. Moreover, there were reports of clashes between the militants and villagers in Kalam, a beautiful valley north of the Mingora city. The residents refused to do so which led to clashes between the villagers and militants, in which two militants and as many villagers were killed.

SANA adds: With security forces making big gains on the ground and seizing control of more strongholds, the TTP Swat is reaching out for Uzbek and Tajik militants, operating from North and South Waziristan, for help.

ìWe have traced conversation between the Taliban commanders in which the commander of the Swat Taliban is appealing to his counterpart in Waziristan to send Uzbek and Tajik fighters as Army is rapidly gaining ground in traditional strongholds of the Taliban in Swat,î a senior intelligence official told IslamOnline, wishing not to be named.

The intelligence official claimed the help appeal was made by Ibne Aqeel, the operational commander of the Swat Taliban.ì(In conversation), Ibne Aqeel admitted that the militants have conceded severe losses at the hands of security forces and have gone on a defensive position,î he said.

ìWe cannot say with authority at the moment that if these foreign militants will join the Taliban fighting in Swat, but we are fully prepared,î he said, adding ìAdditional troops have been sent to the bordering areas of South and North Waziristan to tackle the foreign militants if they try to move towards Swat.î

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