Forces launch new offensive in Swat
MINGORA: Security forces on Sunday launched a fresh offensive in Upper Swat to rid the scenic valley of all militants who had either fled to settled areas or regrouped in upper parts of the Matta tehsil.
The troops, backed by tanks, armoured personnel carriers (APC) and artillery, pounded positions of the militants at 4am. The operation was continuing till late in the night. However, there was no report of any casualties.
Security forces reportedly besieged hardcore militants, including Maulana Fazlullah, after taking control of the Wanay Bridge and blocking supply routes to the militants.
They have also established a checkpoint at Ronial, a strategic location, from where they could monitor the activities of the militants. The forces made further advancement to Shaur, Chuprial, Namial and Wanai areas on Sunday.
Sources said that foreign militants among high-valued targets might be in the troubled area cordoned off by the troops, where they had safe havens and training camps.
The sources said the militants from this area were reportedly sneaking into government controlled areas to make attacks on government installations and offices.
The government, the sources said, was in the final push to rid the area of all militants and restore peace to once peaceful and scenic valley and one of the top tourist attractions of the country. The security forces, they said, were now in the position to occupy the area and the militants had no other option but either to surrender or leave the area.
Meanwhile, residents of Arkot, Nazarabad, Gora, Shangoti, Jura, and Ronial, where the government has established its writ, welcomed members of security forces on their arrival on Sunday and extended them their full support. Elders of Wanai area have assured their full cooperation to the members of the security forces.
The security forces also carried along relief goods for the people of the area which include winter clothing, eatables and warm bedding. Relief goods were also being distributed among the local people.
Life as a whole remained peaceful in Swat as all shops were open and traffic remained plying on the roads.
Seven union councils of upper Swat were, however, still under the control of militants.
Agencies add: The security forces had arrested Maulana Abdur Rehman, an Afghan national and close aide of Maulana Fazlullah, from Bahrain area late Saturday night.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.