Related News

Home » World

Jets bomb Taliban's positions in Pakistan

PAKISTANI jets and attack helicopters bombed Taliban positions in a district near Islamabad yesterday, the military said, in an expansion of an offensive against militants seemingly emboldened by a much-criticized peace deal.

Troops and heavy artillery also joined the operation in Buner, which follows urgent calls from the United States for Pakistan to step up its fight against the militants, who moved into the region this month from the nearby Swat Valley.

They set up checkpoints, patrolled streets and warned locals to abide by strict interpretations of Islam.

The offensive will cause major strains on an already shaky peace deal in the Malakand region, to which Buner belongs. The truce has been widely viewed in the West as a surrender to militants seen to be slowly tightening their grip over the nuclear-armed nation.

Major Nasir Khan said jets bombed positions in mountains in the Babaji Kandao area of Buner. Casualty figures were not immediately known.

Another military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, said troops were also moving into the region.

Witness Mohammad Shahid Khan said he saw tanks, heavy artillery and hundreds of troops heading over the Ambala pass leading to Buner.

Buner lies about 100 kilometers from Islamabad. Though they denied they were responding to outside pressure, Pakistani officials in recent days issued stern warnings against the Buner infiltrators, while launching a separate offensive against militants in Lower Dir, another district covered by the peace deal.

Abbas said the Dir operation was now complete and had killed between 70 and 75 militants. TV footage has shown hundreds of refugees fleeing the area, but officials have not released figures on any exodus.

Pakistan has launched at least a dozen operations against militants in the Afghan border region over the past five years. Officials have frequently claimed success, but the mostly lawless, mountainous area remains a haven for extremists who use it to stage attacks on foreign troops in neighboring Afghanistan, according to foreign governments.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the area and scores of civilians have been killed in the operations.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend