Pakistan army claims 30 Taliban perish in Swat airstrike.
Pakistan army claims 30 Taliban perish in Swat airstrike
Pakhtun Khan Shinwari - Aug 30, 2008 - 10:19
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Thirty insurgents including two local Taliban commanders were killed in a military airstrike on hideouts of militant cleric Maulana Fazlullah's supporters in the restive northwestern valley of Swat, a senior army official said on Saturday.
Based on intelligence reports that the firebrand cleric and his key commanders were hiding there, military aircraft pounded the centre in the Peuchar area, chief military spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas told Pajhwok Afghan News. The rebels suffered heavy casualties in the raid, he claimed.
Army fighter jets took part in the operation against pro-Taliban miscreants in Swat for the first time, Abbas said, adding the bombardment of the base left 22 rebels dead. Another eight fighters were eliminated in air raids on their bases elsewhere in the former tourist resort.
ISPR spokesman Murad Aamer said two key commanders of Fazlullah were also killed in Thursday's military action. He identified the slain commanders as Maulvi Saeedur Rehman and Maulvi Shahenshah. Fazlullah was also present at the centre but his fate was not immediately known.
Rebel spokesman Muslim Khan acknowledged the loss of several fighters in the airstrike but did not put a specific figure on the casualties. He also repudiated rumours that Maulana Fazlullah might be among the fatalities or those wounded.
Local reporter Abdul Aziz Shaheen, kidnapped two days ago, was killed as security personnel attacked a private jail, the ISPR spokesman said. Nearly 40 government officials held in the illegal prison sustained injuries in the assault.
Security forces shelled suspected militant positions in Matta, Kabal and Charbagh sub-districts late Thursday night. Three people were killed and five others injured in incidents of violence on Friday.
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