Fresh gunfights in Pak`s Swat valley
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 06, 2011, 21:29
Islamabad: Three years after Pakistan Army claimed success in flushing out militants from the picturesque Swat valley of the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, fresh gunfights have erupted in the area.

Reports say that five militants have been killed in less than a week in the valley, which was once known as a den of militants.

According to Swat media spokesperson Colonel Arif Mahmood, a search operation by security forces has been under way for the past five days after receiving reports of militants in the area.

"In fresh encounters with militants echoing the 2009 Swat military operation, security forces, assisted by a local lashkar, killed one militant," 'The Express Tribune' daily said today.

One member of security forces was also killed while two people from the local defence committee were critically injured.

The search operation against militants has entered its fifth day. Security forces have now imposed a curfew in the area, it said.

Security forces, after launching a search operation against suspected terrorists, claim to have killed five men earlier during the operation, including two militants on Sunday.

As a result of the search operation, thousands of tourists spending their Eid holidays in Malam Jabba were trapped in the area.

Since the clashes started, security personnel have beefed up security on all entrance and exit checkpoints, the report said.

Earlier, in accordance with the supposed return of harmony to the region, the army had, perhaps prematurely, organised a 20-day-long 'Peace festival' in June, it added.

Area Commander Brigadier Salman Akbar, who inaugurated the festival, had stated that the celebrations indicated that 'normalcy' had returned to the valley.

In April, Peshawar Corps Commander Lieutenant-General Asif Yasin Malik had announced that the security situation in Swat had improved drastically.

The 'peace' that appeared to have returned to the region followed a massive counter-insurgency operation carried out by the military in May 2009, known as Operation Rah-e-Rast.

The operation was hailed by the army as one of the most successful army operations the country had seen in its history.


First Published: Tuesday, September 06, 2011, 21:29

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