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Taliban stop Pak troops from entering stronghold Swat

Taliban fighters today prevented a convoy of security forces from entering their stronghold in the northwestern Swat valley, a day after the Pakistan Army chief pledged to eliminate militants who challenge the writ of the state.

world Updated: Apr 25, 2009 14:09 IST

Taliban fighters today prevented a convoy of security forces from entering their stronghold in the northwestern Swat valley, a day after the Pakistan Army chief pledged to eliminate militants who challenge the writ of the state.

A convoy of seven army trucks was stopped by armed Taliban militants at Qambar, a small town near Mingora, the main city in Swat valley, witnesses and Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said.

Witnesses said the convoy withdrew from Qambar after the Taliban forced the troops to go back, averting any clash.

There was no official reaction to the Taliban preventing the convoy from entering Swat. Sources said local authorities were consulting Taliban leaders to convince them to allow the convoy to move into the area.

The Taliban action could lead to a worsening in the situation as army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani announced yesterday that his force is "determined to root out the menace of terrorism" and "would not allow the militants to dictate terms to the government or impose their way of life on the civil society".

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan told reporters that the deployment of additional troops in Swat is against a peace deal signed in February to introduce Islamic laws in Malakand division, which includes Swat.