SWAT: After recent militant activity and the ensuing large-scale protests from residents, security checkpoints have been set up at various locations in Matta and Kabal tehsils, residents and sources said on Tuesday.

Residents said several military vehicles carrying security personnel were seen in both tehsils. “Gunship helicopters were seen today [Tuesday] hovering over the hills bordering Swat and Dir districts and army vehicles also patrolled the roads,” Iqbal Khan, who lives in Matta’s Sakhra area, said.

Sources also confirmed that hundreds of security personnel, including the army and the elite police force accompanied by local cops, launched an operation at dawn to comb Matta’s mountainous region. However, official military and police sources haven’t yet confirmed the development.

There were no reports of an encounter or engagement, indicating that a group of militants holding high ground had left their positions, sources said, adding that it was not immediately clear where they had gone.

Residents of both tehsils said mobile and landline networks and internet services had remained suspended for over two days, but no gunshots or other sounds were heard so far in their areas.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2022

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