Pakistan troops kill 4 in Swat valley: Army



Peshawar: Pakistani troops on Monday killed four suspected militants during a search operation in northwestern Swat valley where the military claims to have quelled an Islamist uprising, officials said.

Soldiers came under fire as they raided a suspected hideout of militants loyal to radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah in Shamozai village, 30 kilometres (18 miles) southwest of the valley's main town Mingora.

"Troops retaliated and killed all four militants," military spokesman Major Mushtaq Khan said.

Colonel Akhtar Abbas, senior official of the Army-run Swat media centre, confirmed the incident and said there were "no military casualties”.

Swat, a former tourist resort, slipped out of government control in July 2007 after Fazlullah mounted a violent campaign to enforce Islamic sharia law.

The Army launched an offensive in April and says more than 2,150 militants have been killed in Swat and the neighbouring Buner and Lower Dir districts. It said in July that most of the insurgent bastions had been wiped out.

But sporadic clashes and suicide attacks continue to rock the valley.

Pakistan's military is now engaged in a fierce offensive in the northwest tribal belt along the Afghan border, where the core Taliban leadership and al Qaeda-linked militants are holed up in the rugged mountain terrain.

Bureau Report