Over 230 Taliban were killed in fierce fighting with troops in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt, the military said today, as President Asif Ali Zardari asserted that his government was determined to eliminate all terrorists holed up in the restive Swat valley.
Amid intensification in the military offensive, thousands of terrified civilians fled the scenic valley after relaxation of curfew, even as the authorities voiced fears that over a million people could be displaced due to fighting.
About 60 Taliban were killed when troops targeted militant positions in Swat, including the rebel strongholds of Peochar and Fizaghat, the military said in a statement.
Another 150 militants were killed when security forces destroyed a Taliban training camp at Banai Baba in Shangla district. Bodies and weapons were found in the area, the statement said. Five more militants were killed in a clash in nearby Dir district.
At least 26 pro-Taliban fighters were killed and 16 more injured when troops repulsed an attack by militants on a security check post in Mohmand tribal region early this morning. Fourteen security personnel were also injured in the clashes that erupted when about 300 militants attacked a check post of the Mohmand Rifles.
Two soldiers were killed in operations in Shangla, while another soldier was injured in Dir.
In Buner, gunship helicopters targeted militant positions at Barwada Char, causing "heavy casualties" and destroying six bunkers and two ammunition dumps.
One lakh more to flee battleground in Pak
More than 100,000 civilians were expected to flee Pakistan's battle-torn northwest Sunday, after the government eased a curfew so people could escape a military onslaught against the Taliban.
Aid agencies fear a humanitarian disaster as security forces pound insurgent hideouts in the scenic Swat valley.
Up to 500,000 desperate people are already believed to have left their homes in Swat and nearby Lower Dir and Buner districts, the United Nations refugee agency has said.