Normalcy returning to Mingora: Pakistani military

June 1st, 2009 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 1 (IANS) Normalcy is fast returning to Mingora town in Pakistan’s restive northwest with the security forces now turning their attention to recapturing Charbagh town, the military said Monday as its anti-Taliban operations entered their 38th day.
Normalcy is returning to Mingora, the largest town in Swat district of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) “at a fast pace. Provision of food items and medicines are being organized and executed”, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.

“Security forces have launched an operation to secure Charbagh. Heavy clashes are taking place to secure Jangle Jerk”,” it added.

“In last 24 hours, 18 miscreants-terrorists were killed and 13 were apprehended in various areas of Swat and South Wazirist”n,” the statement said.

Two soldiers were killed while four soldiers and an equal number of civilians during this period.

According to the military’s figures, this would bring to approximately 1,250 the number of militants killed since the operations began April 26. There is, however, no independent confirmation of this as the media has been barred from the battle zone.

The security forces have lost some 75 personnel.

In Swat’s Peochar Valley, the ISPR statement said, the security forc”s “carried out search and destroy operations in the Dambar Kandao area and destroyed a miscreants’ training center. ”

“During the operation, a 50-60 foot long newly constructed tunnel was destroyed and a huge cache of arms and ammunition was also destroyed,” the statement added.

Peochar was the headquarters of Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah, who has been on the run since the military operations began.

The security forces were ordered into action after the Taliban reneged on a controversial peace deal with the NWFP government and instead moved south from the Swat headquarters to occupy Buner, which is just 100 km from Islamabad.

The operations had begun in Lower Dir, the home district of Taliban-backed radical cleric Sufi Mohammad who had brokered the peace deal and who is Fazlullah’s father-in-law, and later spread to Buner and Swat.

Under the peace deal, the Taliban were to lay down arms in return for Sharia laws in Swat, Buner, Lower Dir and four other districts of the NWFP that are collectively known as the Malakand division.

The military operations have triggered the biggest and fastest civilian exodus in recent times.

The social welfare department of NWFP has registered some 1.4 million refugees at its camps but the UN estimates the number could be as high as 3 million as many could be staying with relatives and friends.

The UN estimates that close to $543 million would be required for the relief and rehabilitation of the refugees.

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