‘Pak Army has killed 700 militants in Swat so far’

May 11th, 2009 - 6:05 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Islamabad, May 11 (ANI): Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said 700 militants have been killed in the Swat Valley in the last four days, after the army intensified its operation against The Taliban in the troubled region.

“The operation will continue until the last Talib. We haven’t given them a chance. They are on the run. They were not expecting such an offensive,” Malik said in Islamabad.

Malik said the government was providing sufficient funds to help the displaced Pakistanis, and brushed aside fears that militants would try to infiltrate relief camps.

“This fear is baseless that they are melting down among the displaced people because we are screening the displaced people. We are registering them with documents, checking each and every individual,” The Dawn quoted Malik, as saying.

Pakistani fighter jets bombed suspected militant positions in Swat on Monday, pressing ahead with a fierce offensive the government claimed had killed 700 insurgents and had the Taliban on the run.

The military is restricting access to the battlefields and many local journalists have also left. The government has not given figures for civilian casualties, but accounts from refugees suggest they are significant.

Jawad Khan, a university student who lives in the Kabal area of Swat, said jets bombed the nearby Dhada Hara village Monday morning.

“I saw smoke and dust rising from the village,” Khan said, adding he didn’t know about casualties because of curfew restrictions, which have been enforced again.

A police official said jets bombed the Matta area of Swat on Monday as well.

The official said he was confined to his station, but could see a decapitated body lying outside along a road where a clash between military forces and the Taliban on Sunday left six militants dead.

He also said that information he had received indicated that the militants retained control of Swat’s main town, Mingora.

The military launched the offensive after the insurgents in Swat used a peace deal to impose their reign in other neighboring areas, including a stretch just 60 miles from Islamabad.

The army says 12,000 to 15,000 troops in Swat face 4,000 to 5,000 militants, including small numbers of foreigners and hardened fighters from the South Waziristan tribal region. (ANI)

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