Heavy fighting in Swat Valley, 16 militants reported killed

November 15th, 2007 - 2:55 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov.15 (ANI): Pakistani forces backed by helicopter gunships have struck suspected militant positions in the north-west, killing at least 16 militants, the the country’s army has said. According to a BBC report, pro-Taleban militants were killed as fighting continued in the Swat Valley for a third day on Wednesday, the military said, adding that a partial curfew has been imposed in the district.
On Monday, the military took over operations against the militants on the orders of President Pervez Musharraf.
The attacks will continue till we ensure the area has been cleared of the militants, said Major-General Waheed Arshad, the military spokesman
The 16 alleged militants were killed in raids near the towns of Mingora and Shangla on Wednesday, Major General Waheed Arshad said.
“The militants were killed in three different incidents… We will use ground troops where necessary,” he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, an army convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in nearby Malakand agency as it travelled to Swat.
Major General Arshad said eight soldiers were injured. Locals said at least two soldiers were killed and two army vehicles completely destroyed. There has been no independent confirmation of any of the reports.
The Swat valley, next to Pakistan’s tribal areas, has been in the grip of an insurgency since October. The situation worsened after a pro-Taleban cleric and his supporters sought to implement his brand of Islamic law. The militants have since taken over large parts of the outlying areas of the valley, as well as at least four small towns in the district.
Observers say the security forces’ largely inhibited movements have increasingly emboldened the militants. Heavy fighting has caused damage to civilian areas, forcing large numbers of residents to flee. Correspondents say the army shelling has resulted in damage to several houses and schools. (ANI with inputs)

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