Swat Taliban extends operation, occupies Buner

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Lahore, Apr 22 (ANI): Buner, the neighbouring district of Swat, has fallen into the hands of the Taliban with militants belonging to the organisation patrolling markets, villages and towns in the district.

Led by Fateh Mohammad, the militants were asking local people, particularly youngsters, to join them in their campaign to enforce the Sharia.

Taliban militants, who had sneaked into the Gokand valley of Buner on April 4, were reported to be on a looting spree for the past five days. They have robbed government and NGO offices of vehicles, computers, printers, generators, edible oil containers, and food and nutrition packets.

Sources said that leading political figures, businessmen, NGO officials and Khawaneen, who had played a role in setting up a Lashkar to stop the Taliban from entering Buner, had been forced to move to other areas.

The Taliban have extended their control to almost all tehsils of the district and law-enforcement personnel remained confined to police stations and camps, the Dawn reported.

The Taliban, equipped with advanced weapons, were reported to be advancing towards border areas of Swabi, Malakand and Mardan, the hometown of NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti.

The sources said officials of the Frontier Constabulary camp in Jorh had asked people to vacate their homes in view of threats of an attack.

The militants have started digging trenches and setting up bunkers on heights in strategic towns of Gadezi, Salarzai, Osherai and other tehsils.

After occupying the Buner district and setting up their headquarters in the bungalow of businessman Syed Ahmed Khan (alias Fateh Khan) in Sultanwas, the militants started patrolling the streets and roads with no signs of law-enforcement personnel.

They have established checkposts on roads and are searching all passing vehicles.

They have virtually established their writ in Buner region, once a stronghold of the Awami National Party. (ANI)

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