Fresh gunfights in Pak`s Swat valley

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 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.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 21:29

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