A videotape recently surfacedof Fazlullah, the leader of the Swat Taliban who was thought to be dead, calling on suicide bombers to attack Pakistani government officials and the military.

Swat fighting

Fazlullah had previously led a two-year campaign to take over the Swat Valley area, before Pakistani forces launched a major offensive in April 2009 to try to drive him and his supporters out.

Pakistani officials claimed Fazlullah had died in fighting near the Afghan-Pakistan border last May.

After local media obtained the new Fazlullah tape on Friday, Iftikhar Hussain had told Al Jazeera that the video showed the military was succeeding in restricting Taliban's fighters' efforts in the area.

"They have become cowards and are now issuing such videos to overcome their defeat," he said.

For two years the Taliban paralysed much of the valley by promoting its repressive brand of sharia.

Many of the estimated two million people who fled have now returned to their homes in and around Swatand are trying to rebuild their lives, but skirmishes, threats and tensions have remained.

Pakistan's northwestern region has become a stronghold for both al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters who fled Afghanistan following the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban government in 2001.