Pakistan declared Swat under control in the summer of 2009 after a major air and ground offensive to evict militants. – File Photo

PESHAWAR: Pakistan's military said Friday it had killed 11 militants in the Swat valley, raising fears that rebels are again infiltrating the one-time tourism hub.

“Security forces foiled an attempt to disrupt peace in the Swat valley when they killed 11 terrorists overnight,” a military spokesman said.

The spokesman said the fighters had fled Mohmand, a nearby tribal district where Pakistan is waging its latest air and ground offensive against homegrown Taliban blamed for near daily bomb attacks in the northwest.

“These people fled the Mohmand operation and wanted to commit acts of terrorism in the valley,” said the spokesman.

Pakistan declared Swat under control in the summer of 2009 after a major air and ground offensive to evict militants.

For two years the Taliban paralysed much of the district by promoting a repressive brand of religious law, opposing secular girls' education and beheading opponents, until the government ordered in thousands of troops.

Since then, sporadic attacks, shootings and militant operations have suggested lingering insecurity in a region, just 125 kilometres (80 miles) northwest of the capital Islamabad.

Separately, police in the town of Mardan said they had picked up five bodies from a field one day after a teenage suicide bomber dressed in school uniform killed 31 army recruits at a parade ground outside the town.

A chit was attached to each body, listing the name and hometown of the deceased, and one scrap of paper said “long live Taliban Pakistan,” said local police officer Samad Khan.

The men came from Rawalpindi, the garrison city that is the headquarters of the Pakistan military, as well as from the towns of Charsadda and Swabi, he said.

They were aged 20 to 45 and had all been shot dead, he added.

The northwest has been a flashpoint since Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters sought refuge after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, later giving rise to a homegrown insurgency against Pakistani security forces. – AFP



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