London, May 11 (ANI): To flush the Taliban from its urban strongholds in the Swat Valley, the Pakistani Army has intensified its operation in the region and is preparing for a house-to-house combat.
Officials revealed on Sunday that elite commando troops had been dropped into parts of Mingora, Swat's capital, to undertake advance combat, even as the army lifted a curfew to allow thousands of civilians to flee.
The operation in Swat and adjoining areas was intensified and nearly 200 militants and two security personnel were killed in clashes on Saturday and Sunday, said Major General Athar Abbas, director of the Inter-Services Public Relations.
"We have prepared for house-to-house fighting, but if the militants leave Mingora, then we will avoid it," The Telegraph quoted Major General Abbas, as saying.
He said that the security forces were heading from two directions towards Mingora and both forces would link up before assailing the city in force.
In Swat, suspected locations of militants were attacked in Kanju, Mingora, Venaibaba, Namal, Qambar, Peochar, Fizagath, Tiligram and Chamtalai areas and 50 to 60 militants were killed.
Security forces urged citizens to remain vigilant and said that the terrorists had planted explosive devices in various areas of Mingora and Swat to put the blame of civilian deaths on security forces.
Thousands more terrified civilians, many on foot or donkey-pulled carts, streamed out of the valley during the curfew.
Pakistan launched the full-scale offensive on Thursday to halt the spread of the Taliban, which had reached as deep as 60 miles from the capital, Islamabad.
Militants had pushed beyond strongholds in Swat after reaching a peace deal in which the government agreed to their main demand to impose Islamic law in the region.
The army said on Sunday that it had killed at least 180 suspected militants. It said at least 140 bodies of alleged militants were discovered in a camp in Shangla, a district next to Swat where fighting appears to have greatly intensified. (ANI)