Major anti-militant operation imminent in Swat: DG military operations

November 17th, 2007 - 5:32 pm ICT by admin  

Rawalpindi, Nov.17 (ANI): The Pakistan military will launch a major operation “any time from now” to clear militants from Swat, a senior official said on Saturday.
Major General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Director-General of Military Operations for the Pakistan Army, told foreign media here that 15,000 security men were already posted in Swat while 1500 more security men and tank have reached in the area.
He was quoted by The News as saying that five days of clashes in which the army reports around 100 militants have been killed are only a prelude to the impending large-scale offensive in the area. He hoped the area would be reopened for tourism by the end of December.
“The operation will start any time from now. The concept is to clear Swat of militants,” he added.
He alleged some countries providing help to militants in Swat, without citing any name.
He said security at Pak-Afghan border is the joint responsibility of both countries, adding that Afghanistan should also play its role.
Major General Pasha’s statement came as Army gunship helicopters continued to pound pro-Taliban militant hideouts in Swat and Shangla districts.
Security forces are targetting rebel positions in retaliation for an attack on Saidu Sharif airport, near Mingora city.
Cobra gunships and Bell helicopters engaged miscreants north of Kuza Banda.
Military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad confirmed that government forces continued to successfully strike militant positions in Swat and Shangla.
We cleared certain areas in Kuza Banda [Swat] and around Alpuri [Shangla district headquarters], he told the Daily Times.
Despite the heavy shelling on suspected militants hideouts, which include key government installations in Shangla, reports said the Taliban continued to advance their march into other areas of Shangla.
We have reports that the militants plan to open another front against the government and they have selected Buner district, which borders Swat, Shangla and Swabi, security officials in Peshawar said.
Reports said militants advanced towards Chugharzai and Gul Banda in Buner district. However, security forces are reinforcing their positions in the district.
Another military statement said militants had attacked a security forces convoy with hand grenades on the Mansehra-Battagram road on Friday morning, wounding two soldiers. (ANI)

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