Militants gaining strength in Swat, admits Pak Lt. Gen

November 14th, 2007 - 10:30 pm ICT by admin  

Peshawar, Nov 14 (ANI): Scores of foreign mercenaries are intensifying their activities in Swat, a Pakistani Lieutenant General said.
Stating that a problem cannot be solved by the use of force, Lt-Gen Muhammad Masood Aslam, Corps Commander, Peshawar, said that the Pakistan Army would use force in a ’selective and precise’ manner to minimise the affect of military operation.
“Force is not the solution to anything. We want minimal application of force and not an indiscriminate military operation. We will use force in a selective and a very precise manner that is based on good intelligence and is most targeted,” the Dawn quoted him, saying.
Aslam statement comes a day after the army formally took control of the operation against militants, who now control six of the eight sub-districts of the trouble Swat region.
The military used helicopter gunships and artillery to target suspected militants’ positions for the second day running.
Lt General Aslma also maintained that that maximum restraint was being exercised to avoid hitting densely populated areas.
Four bunkers and an ammunition dump of militants were blown up in Sambat and four militants were reportedly killed in the attack, a statement posted on the military’s website said.
It further said that a checkpoint established by the militants at Saranai, close to Kabal, was destroyed and five militants were injured.
It also claimed to have destroyed militant positions at Shakardarra and Bara Banda. Frontier Corps troops captured four militants and one Afghan from Chakdarra. They had arms and explosives. A telephone directory had also been found, it added.
The military’s claims, however, could not be independently verified.
But local residents said that militants appeared to have advanced and occupied a vacated police post and government rest house on Shangla Top on the boundary between Swat and Shangla district. There was no official confirmation of the report.
Lt-General Aslam defended what many critics describe as a belated government action, insisting that it was largely due to the policies of the MMA government that allowed the situation to “build up by appeasing Maulana Fazlullah.”
He also said that it was the MMA government that had refused to allow the army to take action in Swat after it was first deployed in the region in July.
He warned that Pakistan was passing through difficult times, but regretted that the people did not seem to realise that the monster of extremism was engulfing the whole country.
“Those living in Lahore and Karachi, who seem to think that all (extremism and terrorism) is happening on the other side of River Indus and they are safe. This is not the case. This (militancy) is going to create problems for all of us in Pakistan,” he said. (ANI)

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