Pak paramilitaries take control of militant-hit Khyber agency

June 29th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad , June 29 (ANI): Pakistan paramilitary forces have captured important heights in the Khyber Agency and have taken control of the area.

Reports from Peshawar quoted Major General Muhammad Alam Khattak, the head of the Frontier Corps, as saying on Saturday that the rising crime rate was responsible for the launch of the operation.

“We are trying to use the maximum force and will avoid collateral damage,” he added

Major General Khattak said that at present the army was on standby and could be called if needed.

The operation could continue for three to four days, he said, adding that around 5,000 security personnel were participating in it.

According to AP, likely targets of the offensive were the Ansarul Islam organisation of militant leader Haji Namdar and Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-e-Islam.

Afrasiab Khattak, the chief negotiator for the provincial government, told the Daily Times that the North West Frontier Province Government was also considering a second operation in the Swat area.

The operation is the first by the new government since it began talks with Taliban militants after winning elections in February, although officials said the targeted rebel leader, Mangal Bagh, had no direct links to the Taliban. (ANI)

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