Pak media questions Taliban death toll claims of Army
“Daily updates from military spokesman tell us of casualties on both sides and the location of some operations in the preceding 24 hours. They are never accompanied by contemporary footage, a map or any supporting documentation,” the prominent Pakistani daily The News International has observed.world Updated: Jun 20, 2009 19:35 IST
Are Pakistani claims of having killed more than a thousand Taliban fighters in their ongoing offensive in Swat, Buner and Dir areas in the country’s restive northwest - exaggerated?
These posers have come from the country’s media, which has raised question marks over the kill toll reeled out by the military spokesman everyday.
“Daily updates from military spokesman tell us of casualties on both sides and the location of some operations in the preceding 24 hours. They are never accompanied by contemporary footage, a map or any supporting documentation,” the prominent Pakistani daily The News International has observed.
It said: “54 days into the battle in Swat, Dir and Buner, and combat zone moving over to Waziristan, we are told 1500 militants have been killed alongside 120 of our own soldiers”.
But no independent verification have been made, it said.
“The numbers of Taliban dead seem improbably high given that they fight in less than platoon-sized units and are highly mobile. Hideouts are reported cleared everyday -- but we have never seen a picture of one of these hideouts immediately after it was cleared”.
The paper was unsparing saying why the army so far has not killed or captured top brass of the Taliban?
There were reports that Fazlullah has decamped to Afghanistan, the paper said.
"Unless and until these men are caught or killed, we fight now and will continue for a year or more. And when they are caught or killed we want to see them -- dead or alive -- because nothing else will satisfy,“ the paper said.
The British paper The Guardian on Saturday quoted a senior Pakistan Army officer Brigadier Javed Bukhari, who is leading the battle in the southern part of Swat as saying that his forces have killed 100 Taliban fighters.
This figure, the paper said, was at variance with official claims of 1300 deaths across the valley.