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Rediff.com  » News » Pak offensive on Taliban enters decisive phase

Pak offensive on Taliban enters decisive phase

May 24, 2009 19:26 IST

Moving from street to street, Pakistani troops on Sunday captured several key areas in Swat valley's main town Mingora from Taliban as their offensive to regain the control of the restive tribal region entered the decisive phase.

Security forces have secured eight crossings and encountered at least 12 roadside bombs in Mingora, which is under the control of Taliban.

The forces have retrieved Wattakai Chowk, Nawakilli Chowk, Nishat Chowk, Sirafe Chowk, Gulshan Chowk, Green Chowk, Haji Bab Chowk and Sohrab Chowk.

The military said in the last 24 hours, 10 militants were killed in various areas of Swat during exchange of fire between miscreants and security forces, while 14 have been arrested.

Three security forces personnel were also killed and 6 were injured, it said in a statement.

Five "miscreants-terrorists" were killed in various areas of Mingora, while 14 miscreants have been arrested by the security forces.

Meanwhile, eight militants and two civilians were killed as Pakistani fighter jets bombed militant hideouts in Orakzai tribal agency, officials and witnesses said.

Witnesses and a senior official said fighter planes hit areas in Upper and Lower Orakzai agencies early morning. A telephone exchange also came under shelling, causing civilian casualties, locals said.

Pakistani forces have been conducting limited aerial operations in Orakzai agency, where Taliban is active. The militants had also forced minority Sikhs to leave the area after they refused to pay a tax.

Locals say that mostly civilians were killed in two air strikes at Ghaljo, the center of Upper Orakzai agency. Hundreds of people have fled homes due to operation by the security forces, officials said.

After surrounding the Peochar Valley, where the Taliban training centre is located, security forces have entered Peochar village.

"During search and cordon operation, huge cache of arms has been recovered from miscreant's hideouts along with an extensive factory of making bombs. The people of Peochar are cooperating with security forces," the statement said.

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