ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister said Monday that around 700 militants have been killed in major offensive launched last week in the country’s northwest. On May 7, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani in televised address ordered the armed forces to eliminate militants and terrorists in Swat valley and several areas ‘to restore honour and dignity of the homeland and protect the people’.
Taliban have taken control of Mingora, main city in Swat valley, for a week and the armed forces have not yet succeeded to retake it. Thousands of people have fled fighting in Swat valley and Malakand area to safe places to avoid casualties.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that 700 militants have been killed so far by the security forces. He said that 20 soldiers have been killed and around 30 others injured in the operation. “The operation will continue till last Taliban militant is eliminated,” Malik told reporters at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto international airport on arrival from visit to the United States.
He said military operation is the best option against the Taliban militants and he was favouring such action.
“It is a test for the whole nation,” he said, urging the people to stand behind their armed forces in this difficult time.
The Interior Minister said that around 2,69,000 people have been displaced from Swat and other areas including Lower Dir and Buner, adding he expect hostilities will displace around four hundred thousands people. He urged the international community to help the displaced persons. To a question Mr Malik said that a new force will be created for border security, adding that joint Pakistan-Afghanistan patrolling of the border is not possible. NNI