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Pak claims success in war against Taliban

The Pakistan government claimed successes in its war against militants in Buner on Wednesday after capturing strategic points and villages. However, the army action has led to internal displacement of hundreds of people, aid agencies have warned.

world Updated: Apr 29, 2009 21:12 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

The Pakistan government claimed successes in its war against militants in Buner on Wednesday after capturing strategic points and villages. However, the army action has led to internal displacement of hundreds of people, aid agencies have warned.

Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told the media that 50 militants were killed in the operation when security forces backed by gunship helicopters pounded militants positions in Buner on Wednesday. The military operation started on Tuesday.

General Abbas told a press briefing in Islamabad that two caches of arms belonging to militants were also destroyed in Buner. He said that the military operation was underway in Ambela and Milandar and that stiff resistance is being faced by the troops in mountainous area of Ambela.

The Tehreek Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi, which signed a peace deal with the provicial Frontier government has warned that continued military action in the area will lead to the cancellation of the deal in Swat. The government has said that the presence of the Taliban and other militants outside Swat was a violation of the agreement it had with the TNSM.

Pakistani security forces secured control of Dagar area after a successful operation and the civil administration has been asked assume control of the area. One security man was killed and three injured in the action.

The forces also managed to recover 18 FC men out of 70 abducted by the militants. However, the siege laid by the militants on Ziarat Pir Baba, Sultan Was and Nawagai police staions continues.

In this military operation, civilian casualties have risen. The offensive to flush out Taliban militants has also displaced hundreds of people in Buner. Residents said terrified people, mostly women and children, were continuing to flee the area with their belongings after Pakistan troops and helicopter gunships launched "Operation Black Thunder" to drive out the Taliban.

One local charity said yesterday it had registered 2241 displaced families. Most families were seen making their way to Mardan, where the provincial government has set up a refugee camp for displaced persons.