A pro-Taliban cleric on Tuesday threatened to pull the plug on a peace agreement with the Pakistani government, accusing the military of violating a two-week old ceasefire in the Swat valley.
A gunbattle between militants and security forces left two soldiers dead and another injured in the Matta district of the troubled northwestern region, where an insurgency had been raging for nearly two years before a deal was struck allowing the enforcement of sharia law in the area.
"If this operation continues we will withdraw from the peace agreement," Soofi Mohammad said in a televised news conference after the gunfight.
"Security forces are responsible for violating the peace agreement," Mohammad, speaking Pashto, said.
The soldiers were escorting a tanker fetching water for troops.
"If, in future, the government again violates the peace agreement then we will withdraw from it," said Mohammad.
"Security forces should not move in the area on their own.
"I have asked the Taliban and the military not to violate the agreement," said the elderly cleric.
The Pakistani military branded the militant attack on Tuesday "a clear violation" of the peace agreement and insisted security forces were exercising restraint and complying with the terms of the deal.