Pakistani forces kill 25 Taliban, two commanders (Lead)

May 30th, 2009 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 30 (IANS) Pakistani security forces have killed 25 Taliban fighters including two commanders, the military said Saturday as its drive against the militants in the troubled northwest entered the 36th day.
“In the last 24 hours, 25 miscreants terrorists including miscreants commanders Abu Saeed Misbah-ud-Din and Sultan Khan were killed in various areas of operation,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

One soldier was killed and four others, including a civilian driver, were injured in exchange of fire, it added.

An ISPR statement said the security forces had secured Nawagai and Najigram areas of Mingora, the largest town in Swat, one of the three districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) where fighting is underway.

At Nawagai, a huge quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered. “The people of Mingora have started pinpointing militants trying to pose as innocent citizens.”

A team of 21 doctors with sufficient medicines arrived in Mingora Saturday for re-establishing its civil hospital.

Gas supplies have also been restored upto the city while sufficient numbers of mobile generators have been provided to run the water pumping stations, the ISPR statement said.

Work on restoring electricity in Mingora had started but it will take at least two weeks to complete.

In Peochar, also in Swat, training centres of “known miscreants commanders” including Lal Din, Said Jalil and Said Lia “were searched and destroyed”, the statement said.

Peochar was the headquarters of Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah, who has fled and is yet to be located.

The Pakistani government has offered a bounty of Rs.50 million ($617,000) on his head.

On Saturday, there were reports that the militants had abducted and killed renowned religious scholar Qazi Habibur Rehman in Maidan sub-district of Lower Dir.

Rehman belonged to the Tehreek Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) of Taliban-backed radical cleric Sufi Mohammad, who brokered a controversial peace deal whose violation by the militants prompted the security forces to go into action April 26.

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.

Instead, the Taliban moved south from their Swat headquarters to occupy Buner, just 100 km from Islamabad.

The operations had begun from Lower Dir, Sufi Mohammad’s home district, and then spread to Buner and Swat.

The military says over 1,200 Taliban have been killed in the operations but there is no independent confirmation of this as the media has been barred from the combat zone.

The security forces have lost some 70 personnel.

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 2.9 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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