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 Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told the media that 50 militants were killed in the operation when security forces, backed by gunship helicopters, pounded militant 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 the military operation was underway in Ambela and Milandar and that stiff resistance was being faced by the troops in mountainous area of Ambela.
The Tehreek Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM), which signed a peace deal with the provincial 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 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 to assume control. One security man was killed and three injured in the action. The forces managed to rescue 18 Frontier Constabulary men out of 70 abducted by the militants. However, the siege laid by the militants on Ziarat Pir Baba, Sultan Was and Nawagai police stations continues.
Residents saw troops rappel from helicopters outside Dagar while firing and explosions were also heard intermittently.
Three members of an al Jazeera television crew were wounded when they came under fire while reporting from Buner, the network’s website said.