MINGORA/ISLAMABAD: Security forces backed by warplanes and helicopter gunships launched a new operation in Buner district near the Swat valley on Tuesday, bombing suspected Taliban hideouts in Kalil, Shera Turf, and Kandao areas.
Fighter aircraft also bombed Mushki Pur, a mountainous area of Mardan district bordering Buner.
“Today at 4pm, the Frontier Corps (FC) and military troops launched a joint operation against the militants in Buner,” Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Athar Abbas said at a press briefing in Islamabad. He said FC Inspector General Maj Gen Tariq Khan is commanding the operation.
Nearly 300 Taliban entered Buner from April 2 to 4 and began to terrorise the locals, in violation of the Swat deal, Gen Abbas said. “The government warned the militants but they refused to listen and staged only a symbolic withdrawal. They government was left with no option expect to use force,” he said.
According to several news agencies, he said it would take up to a week to clear an estimated 500 Taliban from Buner.
Surrender: Late on Tuesday, a private TV channel reported that the Pir Baba police station in Buner was under Taliban siege.
It said sixty policemen and troops were inside the police station. Unconfirmed reports said that three FC platoons and an SHO were disarmed and captured by Taliban in Buner, the channel added. ghulam farooq/ sajjad malik/agencies/daily times monitor