'Injured Taliban leader surrounded'
Taliban leader and radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah has been wounded and has been surrounded by security forces, a minister has said.world Updated: Nov 05, 2009 17:05 IST
Taliban leader and radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah has been wounded and has been surrounded by security forces, a minister has said.
North West Frontier Province Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour said the head of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) in Swat, Fazlullah, was injured and has been surrounded, Online news agency reported Thursday.
Bilour told a TV channel that top leadership of TTP Swat has either been arrested or killed and the situation in 80 percent of Swat was normal.
In a related development, two militants surrendered to the security forces while a close aide to Maulana Fazlullah was arrested in Swat district Wednesday.
Sources told The News that the security forces carried out search operations in Manglawar area where militants Umarzada and Muhammad Rehman surrendered.
A militant, Saifullah, who was reported to be a close aide to Maulana Fazlullah, was also arrested in an operation by the security forces in Koza Bandai.
Another Fazlullah aide, Nekzada, was also reportedly arrested from the area.
The former tourist destination of Swat has been reeling under Taliban violence since early 2007 when militants loyal to cleric Maulana Fazlullah began an armed struggle to enforce Islamic Sharia law in the valley, some 140 km from Islamabad.
In April, the Pakistani Army launched a major offensive in Swat and three of its bordering districts after Fazlullah's men refused to disarm even after the government imposed Sharia following a peace agreement.
Though the authorities have announced that the military now controls most of the region, regular clashes have been taking place between soldiers and the Taliban remnants.
During this period, the security forces have achieved major successes in killing several hardcore militants and have arrested many key Taliban bosses, including the group's spokesman Muslim Khan, commander Mehmood Khan and Sher Muhammad Qasab.
Pakistan has been hit by a string of terror attacks since early this month. The attacks, including suicide bombings, took place as the army continued its operations in the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan.