Pak Army chief visits Buner, reviews security operation against Taliban

May 22nd, 2009 - 12:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Buner (NWFP, Pakistan), May 22 (ANI): Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani visited Daggar in the North West Frontier Province’s Buner District on Thursday to review the progress of security operations against the Taliban on ground.

Kayani met commanders and troops participating in ongoing operations and “appreciated the morale of troops,” an ISPR statement said.

His visit took place shortly after security forces had captured a Taliban stronghold in the area.

The military launched an offensive this month in the picturesque Swat Valley and neighbouring districts of Buner and Dir to stop the spread of a Taliban insurgency that had raised fears for nuclear-armed Pakistan’s future.

After clearing many Taliban strongholds and supply caches in Swat’s mountains, soldiers have begun battling militants in towns where many civilians are believed to be hiding.

On Thursday, five soldiers and an unspecified number of militants were killed.

About 1.5 million people have fled from the fighting, joining about 555,000 displaced by earlier clashes in the northwest, and an international humanitarian operation is underway to help them.

The head of the government relief operation, Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed, said up to 200,000 civilians were stranded in the valley and authorities might have to drop food to them from the air.(ANI)

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