MINGORA: Army in Swat claimed that it has cleared almost all the valley of militants, killing 290 miscreants and arresting another 143 in the operation. Briefing the foreign media about the current situation in Swat, the army’s Chief Operations Commander Major General Nasser Janjua said that about 20,000 troops backed by helicopter gunships and artillery had driven militants out of their strongholds in the ongoing military operation.
Fazlullah is still on the run with hardcore militants estimated to be 200 to 400, including some foreigners, he said. He said that the militants have retreated to two places in the mountains in the northwest of the valley and we will chase them there. Major General Janjua said that five soldiers and six civilians had been killed in the operation and around 20 civilians were also wounded. He said it would take up to four months to stabilise the valley.
He said up to an estimated 5,000 supporters and fighters had been with Fazlullah at the start of the operation, but a majority of them were youths recruited by the cleric on payment of Rs 200 per day. According to army sources situation in Swat remained calm and no firing or untoward incident has been reported in the last 24 hours. Curfew has been relaxed from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm in the district. According to ISPR, security forces are consolidating their positions in the area and a free medical camp has been established by Pakistan Army at Alpurai in Shangla.-SANA