In a major success against the Taliban in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, troops have recaptured the main town of the restive Swat valley after days of fighting, the military said on Saturday.
The security forces have cleared and secured the town of Mingora though they are still encountering pockets of militant resistance on the outskirts, chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas was quoted as saying by media reports.
The army had earlier this week vowed that it would soon clear Mingora of Taliban fighters. The troops on Friday smashed through Taliban defences and captured two key towns of Bahrain and Peochar in Swat valley after fierce battles.
The military says more than 1,200 militants and 80 soldiers have died in the onslaught against the Taliban, launched in the districts of lower Dir on April 26, Buner on April 28 and Swat on May 8.
The success of the Pakistani troops came as Gen David Petraeus, Commander of the US Central Command, said that it is going to be 'a tough fight' for the country whose 'very existence' is threatened by the militants.