94 militants killed in northwestern Pakistan: army

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Islamabad, Aug 5 (UNI) The Pakistan army has claimed that 94 rebels were killed during a five-day-operation in Matta and Kabal regions of Swat valley whle 14 personnel of the security forces and secret agencies were also killed.

''The forces were left with no other option except initiating operation against Taliban in the wake of frequent violation of the peace agreement,'' Brigadier Zia Bodla told mediapersons in Swat yesterday.

He termed the operation very successful. The militants have been confined to certain pockets in the region, known as Switzerland of Pakistan, until July last year when militants launched attacks against army troops and their checkposts and installations.

The three-month-old peace deal signed by militants and the Pakistani government in May to restore peace in the scenic northwestern Swat valley is already under threaten by fresh clashes between militants and army troops.

Giving details of casualties during the operation, Brig Bodla confirmed the killing of 28 civilians at scattered places. He also confirmed that three out of 14 personnel of the security forces were affiliated with the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

In response to a question, Brig Bodla said the Swat operation was launched with the consent of the NWFP government and it could be stopped according to the directive of the provincial government.

He, however, said the operation was initiated when local Taliban had indulged itself in violation of the peace agreement very frequently.

In the last five days, the Taliban destroyed one dozen schools and during the year-long militancy and terrorist acts, around 137 schools were destroyed.

''We defused eight bombs on Saturday alone,'' Brig Bodla said. He added that 83 of these schools were set on fire and 35 were blown up with explosives.

He informed that 70,000 students, including 30,000 girls, were affected because of the destruction.

UNI XC SKB KP1239

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