Forces gain control of key mountain peak in Swat


Islamabad : Pakistani security forces have wrested control of a key mountain peak in the restive Swat valley following fierce fighting with militants, Geo TV reported Sunday.

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It was indispensable for the security forces to gain control of the strategically important peak 1747 as the militants were taking advantage of the mountain to attack on the government troops, the report said.

The mountain stands between Peochar and Bihaa valley in North West Frontier Province. Peochar was the headquarters of Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah, who has been on the run since the operations began.

A number of hideouts of the militants have been destroyed in the valley and the militants have been forced retreat to Bihaa valley, officials said.

The security forces approached the mountain from three sides and succeeded in clearing of the militants after fierce fighting.

It was later discovered that militants had built many of their hideouts in dozens of feet long tunnels in the mountain. The militants were forced to leave all these tunnels, said the report.

The operations began April 26 after the Taliban reneged on a controversial peace deal with the NWFP government and instead moved south from their Swat headquarters and occupied Buner, which is just 100 km from Islamabad.

The operations had begun in Lower Dir, the home district of Taliban-backed radical cleric Sufi Mohammad, who had brokered the peace deal and who is Fazlullah’s father-in-law. They later spread to Buner and Lower Dir – and to South Waziristan earlier this month.

According to the military, close to 1,500 Taliban have been killed in the operations so far. There is, however, no independent verification of this since the media has been barred from the battle zone.