One soldier, seven Taliban killed in Pakistan clashes | world | Hindustan Times
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One soldier, seven Taliban killed in Pakistan clashes

One soldier and seven Islamist insurgents were killed in clashes in Pakistan's north-western Swat Valley during a major offensive to expel Taliban from the area, the army said on Wednesday.

world Updated: Sep 09, 2009 17:40 IST

One soldier and seven Islamist insurgents were killed in clashes in Pakistan's north-western Swat Valley during a major offensive to expel Taliban from the area, the army said on Wednesday.

The government says its forces have regained control over much of the district after five months of fighting that left more than 2,000 rebels dead.

But the retreating militants continue to conduct occasional raids on the official and civil targets to show their presence.

According to a military statement on Wednesday, the security forces conducted a search operation at Charai near Malam Jabba, a tourist resort in the scenic valley.

"During an exchange of fire with terrorists one soldier was martyred and two soldiers were injured," said the statement. "Seven terrorists were also killed."

The military also said troops captured 22 insurgents throughout the Swat district.

Thousands of military and paramilitary troops launched an operation against the Taliban after they failed to observe a peace deal with the government in Swat, previously a popular tourist destination that is located 140 km north-west of Islamabad.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates Monday praised the Pakistan Army and government for their success against the Taliban, saying they had "performed admirably".

The conflict in Swat valley and three neighbouring districts displaced nearly two million people. Most of them have returned to their homes as the region limps back to normal life.