55 Taliban killed in Swat offensive: Pakistani Army

May 15th, 2009 - 7:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 15 (DPA) The Pakistani Army said Friday it had killed 55 Taliban militants while three soldiers died in fresh fighting in the northwestern district of Swat.
“Fifty-five miscreants have been killed in various areas of Swat during the last 24 hours while 3 security forces personnel died and 11 others were injured,” the army said.

The army said it killed an important militant commander, Dawa Noor, who instigated the people to rise against the army by giving speeches on an illegal FM radio station and using an amplifier fixed on a jeep.

The military also appealed to the locals to help identify militants fleeing the areas disguised as refugees.

Thousands of residents fled the Malakand region, where Swat is located, when the government temporarily lifted its curfew Friday.

According to the UN refugee agency, more than 834,000 people had been registered since May 2. They are in addition to another 555,000 refugees displaced by violence last year.

“We have confirmed reports that these Taliban terrorists after shaving off their beards and cutting hair are fleeing from the area. We request the people of Swat to identify them by pointing them out at a check post where security forces are present,” the army asked the people in a statement.

Despite the curfew relaxation, the forces continued the offensive as jets and helicopter gunships pounded the hideouts of the militants in various parts of the Swat valley.

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