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Pakistani forces retake emerald mines from Taliban


Islamabad : Pakistani security forces have retaken emerald mines from Taliban after heaving shelling in Swat valley, killing 35 militants, local media reported Wednesday.

Taliban had occupied extremely precious stone mines of ‘lapis lazuli’ near Mingora, main city in Swat, in February shortly after a peace deal was signed to end violence in the country.

The Taliban had recruited people to continue the excavation of emerald and the income of the international level of precious stones were being divided among Taliban and laborers, according to Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan.

Pakistani forces, who launched a major offensive against the militants, used artillery to bomb the emerald mines, also killing 35 militants, TV channels reported while quoting the security sources.

A Taliban spokesman Siraj-ul-Haq has been quoted as saying that they had vacated the emerald mines on the instructions from Taliban leader Fazalullah.

The forces also destroyed eight vehicles of the militants, TV channels said.
Meanwhile, the security forces also killed 27 militants in Buner district and re-took some areas from the Taliban, official said.