Pak troops seize key Taliban town: military
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Islamabad, Nov 2: Pakistan today claimed to have seized a key town, near a stronghold of Uzbek militants, in South Waziristan where 12 militants were killed and six soldiers injured in clashes over the past 24 hours.
Maj Gen Athar Abbas, the chief military spokesman, said the offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan was “progressing as per plan” as troops had made gains along three fronts.
The militant hub of Kaniguram had been “completely cleared and secured” and troops were in control of the town.
Karama, a stronghold of Uzbek militants near Kaniguram, too had been cleared and “many militants” killed in the area, Abbas claimed.
Troops were closing in on Sararogha, another important militant base, and it is expected to be cleared soon, he said.
However, troops had found no signs so far of senior Taliban leaders being directly involved in the fighting and it was not known if they were deep within militant-controlled areas or had fled to North Waziristan, Abbas told a news briefing.
Troops positioned in areas around Sararogha were being targeted with mortar and small arms fire.
Twelve militants were killed in fighting around Sararogha and Kaniguram.
Abbas said caches of arms and ammunition were found in huts, caves and compounds used by militants as their bases.
Pakistani troops were controlling the three main routes into South Waziristan and had set up posts at strategic locations to keep an eye on other tracks, the military spokesman said.
“The positions of the terrorists are being overrun. They are being defeated on every front. When defeat is staring them in the face, they are disengaging and withdrawing,” Abbas claimed.
Pakistan has deployed over 28,000 soldiers to flush out an estimated 10,000 Taliban militants and foreign fighters from South Waziristan.
The military says over 320 militants and about 35 soldiers have died so far in fighting though the figures cannot be independently verified as journalists have no access to the conflict zone.
Troops also continued search and clearance operations in the northwestern Swat valley, where 22 suspects were captured from different areas.
Two militants surrendered to security forces in this region.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 Nov 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 Nov 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Nov 2009 00:00:00 IST
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