700 Taliban Militants Killed in Offensive, Claims Pak Minister

Intensifying the offensive on three Taliban-held districts northwest of the capital, Pakistani Air Force fighter jets pounded militant positions in the Swat Valley on Monday, the interior minister said.

Putting the death figure of militants far higher than the military report, Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, said that 700 militants had been killed in the last four days of intense fighting. However, no official reason was given for the difference.

It should be mentioned that the military, the last weekend, had put the death toll at nearly 140 and has reported additional militants killed since then. The exact death toll cannot verified because Taliban militants have not given any statement of their casualties and no body except the army is allowed in the war zone.
Meanwhile in Geneva, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said that over 360,000 civilians in the past 12 days have fled from the fighting area and registered with the agency as displaced people.

Malik, in his remarks, vowed that the military offensive would not draw to a close until the militants were crushed. He said that 700 militants, along with that 22 government troops, had been killed in the ongoing military operation.

Needless to add, Pakistan initiated the army offensive under strong American pressure to reverse advances towards the capital by the Taliban and following the collapse of a contentious ceasefire which gave the Taliban sweeping power to impose Islamic law in the Swat Valley. The fighting has also spread into the adjoining districts of Buner and Dir.

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