Success of Swat offensive still 'unclear': Holbrooke

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Washington, July 30 (ANI): Raising questions over the success of the Swat military offensive, US Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke has said it is unclear whether the Taliban has really been hit hard in the operation.

Talking to media persons after returning from his visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan here, Holbrooke said Washington is yet to ascertain whether scores of Taliban insurgents are actually being killed, as claimed by the Pakistan Army, or have they just scattered away only to recoil later.

We don't know exactly to what extent the Pakistani Army dispersed or destroyed the enemy," Holbrooke said.

He said the actual scenario would become clear only when people start returning to their home in the Valley.

"The test of this operation is, of course, when the refugees return. Can they go home? Are they safe? And we're just going to have to wait and see," The News quoted Holbrooke, as saying.

The Pakistan Army has claimed that it has killed over a thousand extremists during the offensive which was initiated in April after Washington accused Islamabad of "abdicating" to the Taliban.

On-ground reporting of the combat has been barred, so it is difficult to verify the number of insurgents killed during the three month long offensive.

The Pakistan military says it is nearing the end of the operation in the Swat Valley and neighbourhood districts of Lower Dir and Buner, there still remains some pockets of resistance in the region. (ANI)

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