Pakistani troops capture Taliban stronghold, kill 80 militants (Lead)

May 20th, 2009 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 20 (DPA) Pakistani troops overran an important militant stronghold in northwestern district of Buner, killing some 80 Taliban fighters, an army spokesman said Wednesday.
“Security forces have cleared Sultan Was area last night after intense clashes,” Major General Athar Abbas told the reporters in Islamabad.

“Reportedly, 80 miscreants, terrorists were killed,” he said.

The government forces, backed by helicopter gunships and jets, launched a major offensive against Taliban in Buner April 28, days after insurgents raided the district from the adjoining Swat valley, occupied the state-buildings and forced civilians to follow their strict, Taliban-style Islamic laws.

Abbas said the militants were using vehicles and black uniforms of the elite police forces. Six such vehicles were destroyed in the Sultanwas fighting.

Security forces defused seven Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and destroyed concrete underground bunkers and ammunition dumps. One soldier died and nine were critically wounded.

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