Britain backs Pak Army’s ‘vital’ movement to Mingora in Swat

May 24th, 2009 - 3:22 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban London, May 24 (ANI): Britain has supported Pakistan military’s ‘vital’ drive against the Taliban and other extremists in the Swat Valley, amid reports about the troops storming into Mingora, the main town of the Valley.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the United Kingdom was committed to the success of the operation, and urged the international community to support Islamabad in the on-going struggle

“The Pakistan government is engaged in a vital drive to assert its authority over extremist militants who have rejected Pakistan’s constitution, parliament and judiciary.The UK is committed to the success and prosperity of Pakistan and it is right that we, and the whole international community, should support this effort,” The Dawn quoted Brown, as saying.

Brown informed that London has approved a further 10 million pounds aid, bringing its contribution to 22 million pounds, for the thousands of people displaced in the Swat Valley due to the military operation.

“We are ready to do more to help displaced persons in the most extreme of situations and we want to encourage other countries to do so also,” Brown added.

According to reports, 17militants have been killed in the last 24 hours as Pakistan troops entered Mingora.

The Army is reportedly engaged in street battles with the extremists in the region.

The confrontation between the military and the Taliban was confined to the mountainous region and villages of Swat, but now it has shifted to Mingora, situated about 100 miles from away from Islamabad.

The struggle in Mingora is being seen as a test of the ability of the Pakistani military.

With the military operation gaining momentum, fears about large scale civilian casualties is making the task of the security forces more difficult.

The Army is unable to determine exactly how many civilians are still trapped in the region.

“It is difficult to estimate how many civilians or militants are present in the city,” the ISPR spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas said.

He added that there were about 1,500 ‘hardcore militants’ still fighting in the Valley, and that the army would try to complete the operation in eight weeks.(ANI)

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