Deadly clashes in Pakistan’s Swat

At least 16 civilians killed in clashes between Pakistani troops and Taliban.

A total of 46 people have been killed in the last 24 hours, according to Pakistani army sources.

Fighter positions

Helicopter gunships pounded Taliban fighter positions in the Swat Valley in a second day of fighting, which has brought a two-month-old peace deal in the former tourist region to the brink of collapse.

“We are now preparing for the burial, but facing hardships due to the curfew,” Khan said.
Another two men died when shells hit their houses in Deolai, while a young boy and a man working in a garden were killed in nearby Matta district, police and intelligence officials said.
A man was also killed in the crossfire between fighters and security forces at a golf course in the town of Kabal, they said, adding that a total of 25 people were also wounded in the fighting.
Officials did not say if the deaths were caused by shells fired by security forces or Taliban fighters.
Separately, Taliban fighters set fire to two girls’ schools overnight, they said.
Authorities said a curfew enforced in the area as a result of the fighting was relaxed for two hours in the morning to allow  people to buy food.
Major Mohammad Farooq, a local army spokesman, told the AFP news agency that police had detained some suspects overnight, but had no details.

Isaf frustration

In video
Pakistani Taliban say they have army of bombers


In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera’s James Bays, General David McKiernan, commander of Nato’s International Assistance Security Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, expressed frustration at not being able to confront the Taliban in neighbouring Pakistan.

“[Violence] largely emanates from tribal sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan that allow the freedom of movement of insurgents into Afghanistan.

“My mandate as a Nato commander stops at the border. … You asked me, is it frustrating that organisations such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda exist in sanctuaries across the border? – Absolutely frustrating.”

“It’s a regional problem. It is a problem for Pakistan and the leadership for Pakistan and it’s a problem for Afghanistan.”

McKiernan, in charge of 53,000 Nato-led troops, added that Isaf was under-resourced and needed more military capabilities.


Maulana Fazlullah, the Pakistan Taliban’s leader in the Swat Valley, told Al Jazeera that the group has an army of suicide bombers that could strike across the country at any moment.

He also said the Taliban has the capacity to take control of the entire Swat valley.
Mountainous Swat was a thriving tourist resort known as the “Switzerland of Pakistan” until last year, when Fazlullah launched a violent campaign to enforce harsh Islamic Sharia law in the region.

Under the May peace deal, the government agreed to gradually pull out troops and introduce an Islamic justice system.

In exchange, the Taliban said they would halt attacks and surrender arms.

Meanwhile, Pakistan said on Thursday it had summoned the Afghan ambassador to the foreign office to convey “grave concerns” over a bombing outside the Pakistani consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat.
Afghan authorities said a policeman and a woman were wounded when a small bomb attached to a bicycle was remotely detonated on Thursday near the consulate building.
“The government of Pakistan condemns the bomb explosion outside its consulate in Herat,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The ambassador of Afghanistan is being summoned to the foreign office to convey the grave concerns of the government of Pakistan.”

Source : News Agencies

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