Over 1,300 militants killed in Pakistan operation, says official

June 7th, 2009 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 7 (IANS) Pakistani security forces have killed 1,305 militants, including 40 suicide bombers, since the operation began against the Taliban in the country’s northwest, the Online news agency said Sunday.
In addition, 120 militants have been captured since the Operation Rahe-e-Rast was launched in April, Athar Abbas, director general Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said.

He added that 40 suicide bombers have been killed, and 306 army officials have been wounded in the fighting.

However, despite military gains, the army is yet to find out the whereabouts of Taliban chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad. Abbas said the Pakistan Army does not have military technologies, like US drones, to hunt down targets.

He said 60 militants, who have been hiding at the relief camps for displaced people, have been captured. He lauded the efforts of the local people for helping the army in capturing the insurgents. He said the army has also seized a large cache of weapons in the operation.

He said that the task of bringing permanent peace to the region remains on the civil administration and the army has a limited role to play. The army would remain in the area until the civil administration fully takes charge.

The civil administration, which collapsed due to widespread militancy in the past, should immediately appoint staff to undertake rehabilitation work on a war footing. The process for recruiting police personnel has already started, he added.

Abbas said that foreign militants from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan have joined the Taliban in the fight against the Pakistan Army.

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