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Army assault continues on militant strongholds

November 28, 2007

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MINGORA, Nov 27: With a curfew still in force in Swat, security forces continuing their assault on militants’ strongholds claimed to have consolidated their positions on some mountains.

The curfew in Mingora was relaxed from 8am to 12 noon on Tuesday and a similar relaxation was announced for Wednesday.

According to a police official, an explosive device planted by militants exploded near the Mingora Police Lines on Monday night, damaging the boundary wall of the Police Lines.

The ISPR said troops killed two militants who were approaching the Najia Top in the Kuza Banda area secured by the forces a few days ago.

With the cellular phone service remaining jammed in the Malakand region and Battagram, the ISPR claim could not be verified from independent sources. For the same reason, journalists could not contact militants’ spokesman Sirajuddin to get his version.

The continuing curfew has crippled Mingora, the headquarters of the Swat district. During the four-hour relaxation, people thronged local markets to purchase necessary goods, particularly food.

It is learnt that ground forces have not been able to reach Matta, Khwazakhela, Charbagh and other sensitive areas occupied by militants. They are focusing on Imam Dehri, the native village of Maulana Fazlullah, and nearby Kuza Banda, Bara Banda and Nigwalai.

Local people said most of the militants in those villages had fled to nearby areas and only a few hardcore elements were left.