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Taliban inching closer to Islamabad

world Updated: Apr 09, 2009 00:52 IST
Agencies
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Pakistani Taliban are moving into a new area in northern Pakistan, clashing with villagers and police in a mountain valley, police and district officials said on Wednesday.

In a development that will deepen the West's concerns, scores of Taliban have moved into Buner district, 100 km northwest of Islamabad, from the Swat valley where authorities struck a peace pact in February aimed at ending violence.

“About 20 vehicles carrying Taliban entered Buner on Monday and started moving around the bazaar and streets,” said senior police officer Israr Bacha.

Villagers formed a militia, known as a lashkar, to confront the Taliban and eight of the insurgents were killed in a clash on Tuesday, police said.

Two villagers and three policemen were also killed.

Muslim Khan, a Taliban spokesman in Swat, was defiant. "What law stops us going there?" Khan said. "Our people will go there and stay there as long as they want."

Separately, a Pakistani Taliban commander said the Pakistani military and the United States were colluding in US drone aircraft attacks and the militants would take their war to the capital, Islamabad, in response.

Surging militant violence across Pakistan is reviving Western concerns about the stability of its nuclear-armed ally. Pakistan is crucial to U.S. efforts to stabilise Afghanistan.

4 killed in drone attack

US on Wednesday launched yet another missile strike killing four militants in the south Waziristan tribal region, considered to be the stronghold of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

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