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Key Taliban commander among 14 killed in Swat

August 07, 2008

MINGORA, Aug 6: Commander Ali Bakht, a close aide of Maulana Fazlullah, and 13 other militants were killed in Swat on Wednesday.

Major Farooq of the Army Media Centre in Swat told Dawn that nine top militants, including Ali Bakht, had been killed during an operation in Deolai area of Kabal tehsil early in the morning.

Two security personnel and several militants were injured in an exchange of fire.

Ali Bakht was buried in ancestral graveyard in Deolai in the evening. Militant commanders and a large number of people attended the funeral.

The forces blew up houses of Ali Bakht and local commander Fazalur Rehman during the operation. According to local people, both the commanders were in the houses during the attack.

Fazal Wadood, another Taliban commander, was among seven other Taliban killed.

Military sources said the militants had been killed in crossfire when they opened fire on security personnel. A militant, identified as Fazal Rahim, was arrested.

Ali Bakht was among the top 25 commanders of the Tehrik-i-Taliban (Swat chapter) who had negotiated the May 21 peace agreement with the ANP-led provincial government. He also liaised between the Swat district government and the Taliban.

He was earlier in the Awami National Party but quit and joined the Tehrik Nifaz-i-Sharia Muhammadi. He later joined the forces of Fazlullah.

He was the fourth Taliban commander killed in the current military operation in Swat.

Earlier, key commander Hussain Ali alias Toor Mullah was killed in Peuchar, Khan Khetab was killed in Shakardar and Khan Agha in Sambat.

Three militants were killed when an explosive device they were planting in a government school in Aligrama exploded.

Another militant was killed in a crossfire which followed an attack on the Shahdara police station near Mingora.

Militants blew up a soap factory in Rahimabad on Wednesday morning. Most of the workers in the factory were women. However, there was no casualty.

Helicopter gunships pounded militants’ hideouts in Gut, Peuchar, Namal, Charbagh, Malam Jabba, Deolai, Mancha, Shah Dheri and Shamozai.