Mingora: Fresh Swat clashes leave 10 dead
MINGORA: One security man and nine militants were killed and 14 others were injured during a fresh gunbattle between security forces and the local Taliban in Swat on Tuesday. A curfew was clamped on Matta tehsil of Swat district and security personnel were put on high alert.
It was the first gunbattle between security forces and Maulana Fazlullah’s supporters since the signing of a peace agreement in May. The military and Taliban blamed each other for the attack.
NWFP senior minister Bashir Bilour said the incident had taken place because of a misunderstanding. “We have contacted the Swat administration and the situation is now under control.” He said that troops were on a flag-march in the area which had created a misunderstanding and led to exchange of fire.
The clashes forced the Taliban to postpone a meeting of its Shura. However, Taliban spokesman told Dawn from an unspecified place that the peace agreement signed with the NWFP government would remain intact till further meeting of the Shura. Swat media centre spokesman Col Nadeem said four militants had been killed after a security man had come under fire at 7am near the Sambat area in Matta. The security forces took control of the strategic hilltop after three hours of gunfight.
He said five more militants, including most wanted Taliban commander Khan Agha, had been killed and four others injured when the assailants attacked a security checkpost in the Kalakot area. A security man had been killed and a policeman and two civilians injured, he said. Locals said both sides had openly used heavy and light weapons.
Seven policemen were injured when their van came under fire near the Allaabad area of Charbagh. They were taken to the district headquarters hospital in Saidu Sharif. The militants are reported to have set on fire two government schools in the Shur area of Matta tehsil. The area is under the Taliban control. Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan accused the security forces of igniting the situation and said the incident had taken place at a time when a meeting of the Taliban was going on at an undisclosed location.
He said that only two Taliban, identified as Khan Agha and Shehzad, had been killed and two others injured during the gunbattle in Sambat. He said the Taliban had fired in self defence after security personnel encircled them and pounded their positions in the nearby hills in upper Swat.